Deformable particles with anisotropic interactions: unusual field-induced structural transitions in ultrasoft ionic microgel colloids

Mohanty, Priti S. and Yethiraj, Anand and Schurtenberger, Peter (2012) Deformable particles with anisotropic interactions: unusual field-induced structural transitions in ultrasoft ionic microgel colloids. Soft Matter, 8. pp. 10819-10822. ISSN 1744-6848

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Abstract

Ionic microgels are intriguing soft and deformable colloids with an effective pair potential that crosses over from Yukawa-like at large distances to a much softer repulsive interaction at short distances. Here we report the effect of adding an anisotropic dipolar contribution to colloids with such ‘‘ultra-soft’’ interactions. We use an alternating electric field to induce a tunable dipolar contribution, and study the resulting particle self-assembly and phase transitions in situ with confocal laser scanning microscopy. We find significant field-induced structural transitions at low as well as at very high effective volume fractions. At feff ¼ 0.1 we observe a transition from an isotropic to a string fluid. At feff ¼ 0.85, there is a reversible transition from an amorphous to a dipolar crystalline state, followed by the onset of a gas–(string) solid coexistence. At feff ¼ 1.6 and 2.0, i.e. far above close packing, evidence for a field-induced arrested phase separation is found.

Item Type: Article
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/8052
Item ID: 8052
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Physics and Physical Oceanography
Date: 12 September 2012
Date Type: Publication
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