The effect of inter-cluster interactions on the structure of colloidal clusters


Colloidal phases: (a) liquid, (b) cluster fluid & (c) gel.


Colloidal systems present exciting opportunities to study clusters. Unlike atomic clusters, which are frequently produced at extremely low density, colloidal clusters may interact with one another. Here we consider the effect of such interactions on the intra-cluster structure in simulations of colloidal cluster fluids. A sufficient increase in density leads to a higher population of clusters in the ground state. In other words, inter-cluster interactions perturb the intra-cluster behaviour, such that each cluster may no longer be considered as an isolated system. Conversely, for dilute, weakly interacting cluster fluids little dependence on colloid concentration is observed, and we thus argue that it is reasonable to treat each cluster as an isolated system.

A. Malins, S. R. Williams, J. Eggers, H. Tanaka & C. P. Royall
Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids 357 (2), 760 (2011)

DOI: 10.1016/j.jnoncrysol.2010.08.021
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