Patchy colloidal particles at the fluid–fluid interface†
Colloidal particles have significantly different characteristics when they are at interfaces from when they are in the bulk. In this study, we applied Monte Carlo simulations to investigate the stability and dynamics of smooth patchy particles and rough patchy particles near or at the fluid–fluid interface. By adjusting the surface area ratio of the two faces of a smooth Janus particle, we show how its stability, in terms of free energy, in either side of the interface can be tuned relative to the smooth homogeneous particle. We demonstrate how roughness can affect the stability and the orientation of a colloidal particle. Moreover, position-dependent diffusion constants in directions parallel and perpendicular to the interface are calculated for the colloidal particles as a function of distance from the interface. We report drastic slowdowns in the perpendicular diffusivity (and less severe slowdowns for the parallel diffusivity) for all the colloidal particles when they approach the fluid–fluid interface. While such a slowdown is well-known for the fluid–solid interface in the literature in terms of frictional force in hydrodynamics, why this happens for the fluid–fluid interface has not been adequately discussed. We provide evidence for the decrease in terms of discrepancy in the fluid density that leads to depletion forces.