On measuring colloidal volume fractions

Wilson C. K. Poon, Eric R. Weeks, C. Patrick Royall

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

Abstract

Hard-sphere colloids are popular as models for testing fundamental theories in condensed matter and statistical physics, from crystal nucleation to the glass transition. A single parameter, the volume fraction (phi), characterizes an ideal, monodisperse hard-sphere suspension. In comparing experiments with theories and simulation, researchers to date have paid little attention to likely uncertainties in experimentally-quoted f values. We critically review the experimental measurement of phi in hard-sphere colloids, and show that while statistical uncertainties in comparing relative values of phi can be as low as 10(-4), systematic errors of greater than or similar to 3% are probably unavoidable. The consequences of this are illustrated by way of a case study comparing literature data sets on hard-sphere viscosity and diffusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-30
Number of pages10
JournalSoft Matter
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • MICROSPHERE-NANOPARTICLE MIXTURES
  • POLYDISPERSE HARD-SPHERES
  • DIGITAL VIDEO MICROSCOPY
  • EQUATION-OF-STATE
  • GLASS-TRANSITION
  • PHASE-BEHAVIOR
  • MODEL SYSTEM
  • POLY(METHYL METHACRYLATE)
  • HOLOGRAPHIC MICROSCOPY
  • STRUCTURAL RELAXATION

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