Buckling and layering transitions in confined colloidsD. K. Satapathy1, K. Nygård1, O. Bunk1, K. Jefimovs2, E. Perret1, A. Diaz3, F. Pfeiffer1, 4, C. David1 and J. F. van der Veen1, 5
1 Research Department of Synchrotron Radiation and Nanotechnology, Paul Scherrer Institut CH-5232, Villigen PSI, Switzerland
2 EMPA - Überlandstrasse 129, CH-8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
3 European Synchrotron Radiation Facility - B.P. 220, F-38042 Grenoble, Cedex 9, France, EU
4 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne - CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
5 ETH Zürich - CH-8093 Zürich, Switzerland
received 9 April 2009; accepted in final form 20 July 2009; published August 2009
published online 26 August 2009
We report layering transitions within a charged silica colloidal dispersion confined by two opposite like-charged dielectric walls. The ensemble-averaged concentration profiles of the colloids (radius 602 nm) along the confinement direction have been determined using synchrotron X-ray diffraction from microfluidic arrays of channels of different widths. For small channel widths up to a critical value of 300 nm, the channel can accommodate just one layer of colloids which is stabilized against buckling by the confining charged walls. For channel widths larger than this critical value, a buckling of the single layer is observed. These phenomena are explained using a theoretical analysis of buckling instabilities due to Chou and Nelson, and a value for the charge density on the stabilizing charged walls is derived. At still larger channel widths a sequence of complex layering transitions is observed which involve the splitting and merging of individual layers.
47.57.-s - Complex fluids and colloidal systems.
61.05.C- - X-ray diffraction and scattering.
68.08.-p - Liquid-solid interfaces.
© EPLA 2009