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Issue 7, 2012
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Optically probing nanoemulsion compositions

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Many types of colloids, including nanoemulsions, which contain sub-100 nm droplets, are dispersed in molecular and micellar solutions, especially surfactant solutions that confer stability. Since it would be desirable to measure the droplet volume fraction ϕ and surfactant concentration C of a nanoemulsion non-destructively, and since the droplet and surfactant structures are significantly smaller than the shortest wavelengths of visible light, optical refractometry could provide a simple and potentially useful approach. By diluting a silicone oil-in-water nanoemulsion having an unknown ϕ and C with pure water, measuring its refractive index n(ϕ,C) using an Abbé refractometer, and fitting the result using a prediction for n that treats the nanoemulsion as an effective medium, we show that ϕ and C can be deduced accurately over a relatively wide range of compositions. Moreover, we generalize this approach to other types of nanoemulsions in which a molecular constituent partitions in varying degrees between the dispersed and the continuous phases.

Graphical abstract: Optically probing nanoemulsion compositions

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Article information

21 Sep 2011
09 Dec 2011
First published
16 Jan 2012

Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2012,14, 2455-2461
Article type

Optically probing nanoemulsion compositions

X. Zhu, M. M. Fryd, J. Huang and T. G. Mason, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2012, 14, 2455
DOI: 10.1039/C2CP23007K

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