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Spatial Ordering of Colloids in a Drying Aqueous Polymer Droplet

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posted on 19.02.2016, 21:31 by Erkan Senses, Matthew Black, Thomas Cunningham, Svetlana A. Sukhishvili, Pinar Akcora
We explore the role of polymer chains on deposition of colloidal particles at solid surfaces from drying aqueous drops and show that the kinetics of phase separation of colloids and polymers can be explained by spinodal decomposition of binary systems. Concentrations of polymer solutions and polymer chain lengths were varied to understand the aggregation dynamics of colloidal particles via a polymer bridging mechanism. We show that when polymer concentration in the droplet is increased, particles spatially order upon drying due to a combination of the phase separation of highly bridged particles and the Marangoni flow effect. The demonstrated effect of particle-adsorbing, water-soluble polymers on the coffee-ring formation opens up new ways of creating highly ordered, long-range patterned surfaces using a facile, template-free approach.