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Issue 7, 2011
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Measuring colloidal forces from particle position deviations inside an optical trap

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Abstract

We measure interaction forces between pairs of charged PMMA colloidal particles suspended in a relatively low-polar medium (5 ≲ ε ≲ 8) directly from the deviations of particle positions inside two time-shared optical traps. The particles are confined to optical point traps; one is held in a stationary trap and the other particle is brought closer in small steps while tracking the particle positions using confocal microscopy. From the observed particle positions inside the traps we calculate the interparticle forces using an ensemble-averaged particle displacement-force relationship. The force measurements are confirmed by independent measurements of the different parameters using electrophoresis and a scaling law for the liquid-solid phase transition. When increasing the salt concentration by exposing the sample to UV light, the force measurements agree well with the classical DLVO theory assuming a constant surface potential. On the other hand, when adding tetrabutylammonium chloride (TBAC) to vary the salt concentration, surface charge regulation seems to play an important role.

Graphical abstract: Measuring colloidal forces from particle position deviations inside an optical trap

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Publication details

The article was received on 10 Nov 2010, accepted on 18 Jan 2011 and first published on 15 Feb 2011


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0SM01295E
Citation: Soft Matter, 2011,7, 3462-3466
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    Measuring colloidal forces from particle position deviations inside an optical trap

    D. El Masri, P. van Oostrum, F. Smallenburg, T. Vissers, A. Imhof, M. Dijkstra and A. van Blaaderen, Soft Matter, 2011, 7, 3462
    DOI: 10.1039/C0SM01295E

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