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Issue 37, 2017
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Multiple particle tracking study of thermally-gelling nanoemulsions

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We perform multiple particle tracking (MPT) on a thermally-gelling oil-in-water nanoemulsion system. Carboxylated and plain polystyrene probes are used to investigate the role of colloidal probe size and surface chemistry on MPT in the nanoemulsion system. As temperature increases, hydrophobic groups of PEG-based gelators (PEGDA) partition into the oil/water interface and bridge droplets. This intercolloidal attraction generates a wide variety of microstructures consisting of droplet-rich and droplet-poor phases. By tailoring the MPT colloidal probe surface chemistry, we can control the residence of probes in each domain, thus allowing us to independently probe each phase. Our results show stark differences in probe dynamics in each domain. For certain conditions, the mean squared displacement (MSD) can differ by over four orders of magnitude for the same probe size but different surface chemistry. Carboxylated probe surface chemistries result in “slippery” probes while plain polystyrene probes appear to tether to the nanoemulsion gel network. We also observe probe hopping between pores in the gel for carboxylated probes. Our approach demonstrates that probes with different surface chemistries are useful in probing the local regions of a colloidal gel and allows the measurement of local properties within structurally heterogeneous hydrogels.

Graphical abstract: Multiple particle tracking study of thermally-gelling nanoemulsions

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Publication details

The article was received on 15 Jun 2017, accepted on 10 Sep 2017 and first published on 15 Sep 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM01191A
Citation: Soft Matter, 2017,13, 6606-6619
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    Multiple particle tracking study of thermally-gelling nanoemulsions

    L. Cheng, L. C. Hsiao and P. S. Doyle, Soft Matter, 2017, 13, 6606
    DOI: 10.1039/C7SM01191A

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