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Phys Rev Lett. 2012 Dec 14;109(24):248302. Epub 2012 Dec 10.

Colloidal aggregation in microgravity by critical Casimir forces.

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  • 1Van der Waals Zeeman Institute, University of Amsterdam, Science Park 904, 1098XH Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


By using the critical Casimir force, we study the attractive strength dependent aggregation of colloids with and without gravity by means of near field scattering. Significant differences were seen between microgravity and ground experiments, both in the structure of the formed fractal aggregates as well as in the kinetics of growth. In microgravity purely diffusive aggregation is observed. By using the continuously variable particle interaction potential we can for the first time experimentally relate the strength of attraction between the particles and the structure of the aggregates.

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