A combined 3D and 2D light scattering study on aqueous colloidal model systems with tunable interactions
In this article we report on the synthesis and characterization of a system of colloidal spheres suspended in an aqueous solvent which can be refractive index-matched, thus allowing for investigations of the particle near-wall dynamics by evanescent wave dynamic light scattering at concentrations up to the isotropic to ordered transition and beyond. The particles are synthesized by copolymerization of a fluorinated acrylic ester monomer with a polyethylene-glycol (PEG) oligomer by surfactant free emulsion polymerization. Static and dynamic light scattering experiments in combination with cryo transmission electron microscopy reveal that the particles have a core shell structure with a significant enrichment of the PEG chains on the particles surface. In index-matching DMSO/water suspensions the particles arrange in an ordered phase at volume fraction above 7%, if no additional electrolyte is present. The near-wall dynamics at low volume fraction are quantitatively described by the combination of electrostatic repulsion and hydrodynamic interaction between the particles and the wall. At volume fractions close to the isotropic to ordered transition, the near-wall dynamics are more complex and qualitatively reminiscent of the behaviour which was observed in hard sphere suspensions at high concentrations.