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Title: Perspective: The Asakura Oosawa model: A colloid prototype for bulk and interfacial phase behavior

In many colloidal suspensions, the micrometer-sized particles behave like hard spheres, but when non-adsorbing polymers are added to the solution a depletion attraction (of entropic origin) is created. Since 60 years the Asakura-Oosawa model, which simply describes the polymers as ideal soft spheres, is an archetypical description for the statistical thermodynamics of such systems, accounting for many features of real colloid-polymer mixtures very well. While the fugacity of the polymers (which controls their concentration in the solution) plays a role like inverse temperature, the size ratio of polymer versus colloid radii acts as a control parameter to modify the phase diagram: when this ratio is large enough, a vapor-liquid like phase separation occurs at low enough colloid packing fractions, up to a triple point where a liquid-solid two-phase coexistence region takes over. For smaller size ratios, the critical point of the phase separation and the triple point merge, resulting in a single two-phase coexistence region between fluid and crystalline phases (of “inverted swan neck”-topology, with possibly a hidden metastable phase separation). Furthermore, liquid-crystalline ordering may be found if colloidal particles of non-spherical shape (e.g., rod like) are considered. Also interactions of the particles with solid surfaces should be tunable (e.g.,more » walls coated by polymer brushes), and interfacial phenomena are particularly interesting experimentally, since fluctuations can be studied in the microscope on all length scales, down to the particle level. Due to its simplicity this model has become a workhorse for both analytical theory and computer simulation. Recently, generalizations addressing dynamic phenomena (phase separation, crystal nucleation, etc.) have become the focus of studies.« less
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Institut für Physik, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Staudinger Weg 9, 55128 Mainz (Germany)
  2. Graduate School of Excellence Material Science in Mainz, Staudinger Weg 9, 55128 Mainz (Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22436566
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Chemical Physics; Journal Volume: 141; Journal Issue: 14; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; COLLOIDS; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; CONTROL; INTERACTIONS; LIQUIDS; NUCLEATION; PARTICLES; PHASE DIAGRAMS; POLYMERS; SOLIDS; SOLUTIONS; SUSPENSIONS; VAPORS