Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Particles at fluid–fluid interfaces: From single-particle behavior to hierarchical assembly of materials

Bum Jun Park and Daeyeon Lee

Particles ranging in size from a few nanometers to tens of micrometers have a strong tendency to adsorb at interfaces between two immiscible fluids (e.g., water and oil or air). The driving force for this strong interfacial attachment is a reduction in interfacial area, and thus, interfacial energy. To design and engineer the structure and properties of materials constructed by such colloidal systems, it is imperative to understand the behavior of particles at fluid interfaces at the single-particle level and to establish the relationship between the microscopic behavior of interfacial particles and the bulk properties of particle-laden interfaces. In this article, we present background information on the behavior of particles at fluid–fluid interfaces and highlight recent advances in understanding the effects of particle shape and surface wettability on the behavior of particles at the interfaces. We also discuss recent advances in using interfacial attachment to direct the assembly of nanomaterials to create hierarchical structures with designed properties.

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