Salt-induced changes of colloidal interactions in critical mixtures
We report on salt-dependent interaction potentials of a single charged particle suspended in a binary liquid mixture above a charged wall. For symmetric boundary conditions (BC) we observe attractive particle-wall interaction forces which are similar to critical Casimir forces previously observed in salt-free mixtures. However, in case of antisymmetric BC we find a temperature-dependent crossover from attractive to repulsive forces which is in strong contrast to salt-free conditions. Additionally performed small-angle X-ray scattering experiments demonstrate that the bulk critical fluctuations are not affected by the addition of salt. This suggests that the observed crossover can not be attributed to critical Casimir forces alone. Instead our experiments point towards a possible coupling between the ionic distributions and the concentration profiles in the binary mixture which then affects the interaction potentials in such systems.