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J Colloid Interface Sci. 2009 Apr 15;332(2):511-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jcis.2009.01.010. Epub 2009 Jan 14.

Effect of buffers on aqueous solute-exclusion zones around ion-exchange resins.

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  • 1Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at the Microscale, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China.


Interaction between charged surfaces in aqueous solution is a fundamental feature of colloid science. Theoretically, surface potential falls to half its value at a distance equal to a Debye length, which is typically on the order of tens to hundreds of nanometers. This potential prevents colloids from aggregating. On the other hand, long-range surface effects have been frequently reported. Here we report additional long-range effects. We find that charged latex particles in buffer solutions are uniformly excluded from several-hundred-micron-thick shells surrounding ion-exchange beads. Exclusion is observed whether the beads are charged similarly or oppositely to the particles. Hence, electrostatic interactions between bead and microsphere do not cause particle exclusion. Rather, exclusion may be the consequence of water molecules re-orienting to produce a more ordered structure, which then excludes the particles.

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