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LETTER TO THE EDITOR Generalized depletion potentials

By A A Louis and R Roth


We propose that the behaviour of asymmetric binary fluid mixtures with a large class of attractive or repulsive interparticle interactions can be understood by mapping onto effective non-additive hard-sphere models. The latter are best analysed in terms of their underlying depletion potentials which can be exactly scaled onto known additive ones. By tuning the non-additivity, a wide variety of attractive or repulsive generalized depletion potential shapes and associated phase behaviour can be ‘engineered’, leading, for example, to two ways to stabilize colloidal suspensions by adding smaller particles. Varying the interactions between the mesoscopic constituent particles in colloidal dispersions—examples include proteins, micelles, polymeric composites, ceramic materials etc in polar or non-polar solvents—results in a broad range of equilibrium and non-equilibrium fluid behaviour. It is this tunability which has led to the widespread industrial and biological applications of colloidal suspensions [1]. Some very promising recent experimental advances allow for an exquisite control over the colloidal interactions, leading, for example, to the desig

Year: 2001
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