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Particles Trapped at the Droplet Interface in Water-in-Water Emulsions

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posted on 10.04.2012, 00:00 by Gireeshkumar Balakrishnan, Taco Nicolai, Lazhar Benyahia, Dominique Durand
Water-in-water emulsions were formed by mixing incompatible aqueous solutions of dextran and poly­(ethylene oxide) (PEO) in the presence of latex or protein particles. It was found that particles with a radius as small as 0.1 μm become trapped at the interface between the PEO- and dextran-rich phases with interfacial tensions down to 10–6 N/m. The particles were visualized at the interface of the emulsion droplets using confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) allowing determination of the contact angle. Various degrees of coverage with particles could be observed. On densely covered droplets, the particles had a hexagonal crystalline order. At intermediate coverage, transient clustering of the particles was observed. The diffusion coefficient of the particles at the interface was determined using multiparticle tracking. Fusion of droplets was observed in all cases leading eventually to macroscopic phase separation.