Sphere to rod transitions in self assembled systems probed using direct force measurement†
The influence of nanoparticle shape, in particular the sphere to rod transition, on surface forces and consequently the properties of colloidal fluids is an interesting but not well investigated phenomenon. Here, the surface force behaviour of concentrated surfactant solutions containing cetyltrimethylammonium bromide and sodium salicylate with micelle shapes varying from slightly prolate to high aspect ratio rods was measured. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) with both rigid particle and soft droplet probes was used with comparisons and analysis made using the Chan–Dagastine–White model. It is observed that small changes to the micelle shape result in no discernable differences to the surface force behaviour, however, once the micelles are elongated significantly, the long range forces adjust in nature from oscillatory to that of a single attractive force well. This highlights the importance that nanocolloid shape has on the behaviour and properties of emulsions and other colloidal fluids, specifically for emulsion flocculation and handling in systems of rod and worm like micelles.