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Critical Casimir interactions between colloids around the critical point of binary solvents

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Abstract

Critical Casimir interactions between colloidal particles arise from the confinement of fluctuations of a near-critical solvent in the liquid gap between closely-spaced particles. So far, the comparison of theoretical predictions and experimental measurements of critical Casimir forces (CCFs) has focused on the critical solvent composition, while it has been lacking for off-critical compositions. We address this issue by investigating CCFs between spherical colloidal particles around the critical point of a binary solvent through a combination of experiments, previous Ising Monte Carlo simulation results and field-theoretical methods. By measuring the correlation length of the near-critical solvent and the pair potentials of the particles in terms of radial distribution functions and by determining the second virial coefficient, we test in detail theoretical predictions. Our results indicate that the critical Casimir theory gives quantitative correct predictions for the interaction potential between particles in a near critical binary mixture if weak preferential adsorption of the particle surface is taken into account.

Graphical abstract: Critical Casimir interactions between colloids around the critical point of binary solvents

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Publication details

The article was received on 24 Mar 2017, accepted on 23 May 2017 and first published on 24 May 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM00599G
Citation: Soft Matter, 2017, Advance Article
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    Critical Casimir interactions between colloids around the critical point of binary solvents

    S. G. Stuij, M. Labbé-Laurent, T. E. Kodger, A. Maciołek and P. Schall, Soft Matter, 2017, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7SM00599G

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