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Issue 6, 2011
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Aggregation of superparamagnetic colloids in magnetic fields: the quest for the equilibrium state

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Abstract

Previous experimental and simulation studies of superparamagnetic colloids in a strong external field have systematically shown a nonequilibrium aggregation process in which chains of particles steadily grow in the direction of the applied external field with the average length increasing as a power law over time. Here we show, by employing Langevin dynamics simulations, the existence of a different behavior under the effects of an external magnetic field: after a transient period of chain formation, the system attains an equilibrium state. Furthermore, a thermodynamic self-assembly theory supports the simulation results and it also predicts that the average chain length in the equilibrium state depends only on a dimensionless parameter combining the volume fraction of colloids ϕ0 and the magnetic coupling parameter Γ. The conditions under which this new behavior can be observed are discussed here.

Graphical abstract: Aggregation of superparamagnetic colloids in magnetic fields: the quest for the equilibrium state

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Publication details

The article was received on 06 Dec 2010, accepted on 20 Jan 2011 and first published on 08 Feb 2011


Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/C0SM01424A
Citation: Soft Matter, 2011,7, 2336-2339
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    Aggregation of superparamagnetic colloids in magnetic fields: the quest for the equilibrium state

    J. S. Andreu, J. Camacho and J. Faraudo, Soft Matter, 2011, 7, 2336
    DOI: 10.1039/C0SM01424A

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