Stability of binary colloids: kinetic and structural aspects of heteroaggregation processes
This review reports on recent advances in our knowledge about the stability of binary colloids. We focus not only on experimental results but also discuss theoretical and simulation studies regarding kinetic and structural aspects of heteroaggregation processes arising in such systems. In the first part of this work, heteroaggregation of oppositely charged particles is reviewed. When the interactions are short ranged, binary diffusion-limited cluster–cluster aggregation takes place. In this case, the short time behavior of the system follows the Hogg, Healy and Fuerstenau (HHF) theory. At long times, however, stable aggregates may form and remain in the system. Furthermore, cluster discrimination is observed, i.e. clusters that differ only by one constituent particle were found to behave quite differently. When the range of the interactions is increased, the latter effects become more pronounced. The fractal dimension of heteroaggregates is, in general, smaller than the values reported for fast and slow homoaggregation processes. In some cases, even values close to unity were obtained. This means that heteroaggregates have an open branched structure that may approach a chain-like morphology. In the second part of this work, we briefly discuss similar effects arising in heteroaggregation phenomena due to differences in particle size and chemical composition. The third part of this review tackles recent developments in the field of equilibrium phase diagrams of binary colloids. In the last section, the relatively small number of papers about heteroaggregation processes in two-dimensional systems is also discussed.