Anomalous behavior of the depletion potential in quasi-two-dimensional binary mixtures

Bianxiao Cui, Binhua Lin, Derek Frydel, Stuart A. Rice

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We report an experimental determination of the depletion interaction between a pair of large colloid particles present in a binary colloid mixture that has a high density of large particles and is tightly confined between two parallel plates, as a function of the small colloid particle density. The bare interaction between the large particles in the one component large colloid suspension, and the effective potential between the large particles in the binary colloid suspension represented as a pseudo-one-component fluid, were obtained by inverting the Ornstein-Zernike equation with the hypernetted chain closure. The depletion interaction is defined by subtracting the bare potential from the effective potential at fixed large colloid density. We find that the depletion potential in the quasi-two-dimensional (Q2D) system is purely attractive and short ranged as described by Asakura-Oosawa model. However, the depth of the depletion potential is found to be almost an order of magnitude larger than the counterpart depletion potential predicted for the same density and diameter ratio in a three-dimensional system. Although it is expected that the confining walls in the Q2D geometry enhance the excluded volume effects that generate entropic attraction, the observed enhancement is much larger than predicted for a Q2D binary mixture of hard spheres. We speculate that this anomalously strong confinement-induced depletion potential is a signature of characteristics of the real confined binary colloid mixture that are not included in any extant theory of the depletion interaction, specifically the omission of the role of the solvent in those theories. One such characteristic could be differential wall or particle wetting that generates a wall induced one-particle effective potential that confines the centers of the small particles to lie closer to the midplane between the walls than expected from the wall separation and the direct particle-wall interaction, thereby enhancing the depletion interaction. © 2005 The American Physical Society.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes

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