New Study shows Correlation between Microscopic Structures and Macroscopic Properties
Researchers from Jülich have, together with colleagues from Austria, Italy, Colombia and the USA, developed a model system for so-called soft colloids. The model gives us a better understanding of correlations between the atomic structure of colloids and their perceptible material properties. These findings could lead to new approaches for the targeted development of innovative colloid materials. The results have just been published in the journal “Nanoscale”.
Colloids are nano- or micrometer-sized finely dispersed particles or droplets. Soft colloids are made up of flexible materials, for example, polymers, such as proteins and synthetic molecules. In nature, soft colloids are found in cells, for instance.
In industry, they are used among other things in food processing, cosmetics and emulsion paints or in oil production to achieve the necessary flow properties. In paint manufacture, for example, they ensure that products are easy to apply yet do not run off surfaces.
The model system developed by researchers from the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science is made up of water and block copolymers – thread-like molecules with both a hydrophilic and a hydrophobic component.
In water, the polymer threads arrange themselves in a star shape, with the hydrophilic ends pointing outwards, and the hydrophobic pointing inwards. If the hydrophilic component is large, only a few molecules will bundle themselves loosely together and their physical behaviour resembles that of threads. The bigger the hydrophobic component is, the more polymers will clump together and dense, hard spheres are formed.
Until now, there have always been separate physical models for threads and spheres, which would predict in each case whether the resulting solution would be liquid or glassy. Aided by their scientific investigations and, among other things, by neutron scattering experiments, the researchers have now succeeded in combining both models and have developed a comprehensive phase diagram which describes the material properties depending on the structure and concentration of the colloid – producing a recipe book for colloids, so to speak.
In effect, they found a connecting parameter which essentially decides whether the model colloid solution will be liquid or glassy: the so-called interaction length. This corresponds approximately to the radius in which the colloids can interact with each other, and depends among other things on how many molecules a colloid is composed of as well as the concentration strength of the colloids.
A special feature of the model colloids made these findings possible: their softness can be tuned very finely over a large area by altering the length ratio between the hydrophilic and hydrophobic components of the molecule threads. The fact that the basic ingredients always remain the same makes it simpler to distinguish fundamental correlations.
S. Gupta, M. Camargo, J. Stellbrink, J. Allgaier, A. Radulescu, P. Lindner, E. Zaccarelli, C. N. Likos and D. Richter: Dynamic Phase Diagram of Soft Nano Colloids. “Nanoscale”, 2015,
Dr. Jörg Stellbrink
Institute of Complex Systems, Neutron Scattering Division (ICS-1 / JCNS-1)
Angela Wenzik, Science Journalist, Forschungszentrum Jülich
Phone: +49-2461 61-6048
http://www.fz-juelich.de/portal/EN/Press/PressReleases/_node.html Forschungszentrum Jülich - Press releases
http://www.fz-juelich.de/ics/ics-1/EN/Forschung/forschung_node.html Research at the division of Neutron Scattering (ICS-1/JCNS-1)
Annette Stettien | Forschungszentrum Jülich
Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University
New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).
Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
16.02.2018 | Information Technology
16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy