A suspension of charged colloidal silica spheres exhibiting a bi-modal size distribution of particles, thereby mimicking a binary mixture, was studied using time-resolved ultra-small-angle synchrotron X-ray scattering (USAXS). The sample, consisting of particles of diameters dA = (104.7 ± 9.0)  nm and dB = (88.1 ± 7.8)  nm (dA/dB ≈ 1.2), and with an estimated composition A0.6(1)B0.4(1), was studied with respect to its phase behaviour in dependance of particle number density and interaction, of which the latter was modulated by varying amounts of added base (NaOH). Moreover, its short-range order in the fluid state and its eventual solidification into a long-range ordered colloidal crystal were observed in situ, allowing the measurement of the associated kinetics of nucleation and crystal growth. Key parameters of the nucleation kinetics such as crystallinity, crystallite number density, and nucleation rate density were extracted from the time-resolved scattering curves. By this means an estimate on the interfacial energy for the interface between the icosahedral short-range ordered fluid and a body-centered cubic colloidal crystal was obtained, comparable to previously determined values for single-component colloidal systems.

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