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Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2007 Apr 15;56(1-2):231-5. Epub 2006 Dec 22.

Colloidal crystals of core-shell type spheres with poly(styrene) core and poly(ethylene oxide) shell.

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  • 1Department of Applied Chemistry, Gifu University, 1-1 Yanagido, Gifu 501-1193, Japan.


Elastic modulus and crystal growth kinetics have been studied for colloidal crystals of core-shell type colloidal spheres (diameter=160-200 nm) in aqueous suspension. Crystallization properties of three kinds of spheres, which have poly(styrene) core and poly(ethylene oxide) shell with different oxyethylene chain length (n=50, 80 and 150), were examined by reflection spectroscopy. The suspensions were deionized exhaustively for more than 1 year using mixed bed of ion-exchange resins. The rigidities of the crystals range from 0.11 to 120 Pa and from 0.56 to 76 Pa for the spheres of n=50 and 80, respectively, and increase sharply as the sphere volume fraction increase. The g factor, parameter for crystal stability, range from 0.029 to 0.13 and from 0.040 to 0.11 for the spheres of n=50 and 80, respectively. These g values indicate the formation of stable crystals, and the values were decreased as the sphere volume fraction increased. Two components of crystal growth rate coefficients, fast and slow, were observed in the order from 10(-3) to 10(1)s(-1). This is due to the secondary process in the colloidal crystallization mechanism, corresponding to reorientation from metastable crystals formed in the primary process and/or Ostwald-ripening process. There are no distinct differences in the structural, kinetic and elastic properties among the colloidal crystals of the different core-shell size spheres, nor difference between those of core-shell spheres and silica or poly(styrene) spheres. The results are very reasonably interpreted by the fact that colloidal crystals are formed in a closed container owing to long-range repulsive forces and the Brownian movement of colloidal spheres surrounded by extended electrical double layers, and their formation is not influenced by the rigidity and internal structure of the spheres.

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