Most of the colloidal clusters have been produced from oil-in-water emulsions with identical microspheres dispersed in oil droplets. Here, we present new types of binary colloidal clusters from phase-inverted water-in-oil emulsions using various combinations of two different colloids with several size ratios: monodisperse silica or polystyrene microspheres for larger particles and silica or titania nanoparticles for smaller particles. Obviously, a better understanding of how finite groups of different colloids self-organize in a confined geometry may help us control the structure of matter at multiple length scales. In addition, since aqueous dispersions have much better phase stability, we could produce much more diverse colloidal materials from water-in-oil emulsions rather than from oil-in-water emulsions. Interestingly, the configurations of the large microspheres were not changed by the presence of the small particles. However, the arrangement of the smaller particles was strongly dependent on the nature of the interparticle interactions. The experimentally observed structural evolutions were consistent with the numerical simulations calculated using Surface Evolver. These clusters with nonisotropic structures can be used as building blocks for novel colloidal structures with unusual properties or by themselves as light scatterers, diffusers, and complex adaptive matter exhibiting emergent behavior.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry