Colloidal rods and spheres in partially miscible binary liquids
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Different scenarios for assembling rod-like and spherical colloidal particles using binary mixtures of partially miscible liquids were investigated experimentally. Suitable rod-like colloids were developed first. The subsequent studies of colloids in binary liquids consisted, on one hand, of systems where particles were partially wetted by both phases and, on the other hand, of systems where particles were completely wetted by the minority phase. A simple method to prepare large quantities of micrometer-sized akagan eite-silica core-shell rods was developed. These were proven to be very versatile, with the possibility of modifying their properties on different levels. The aspect ratio is simply controlled by a gradual growth of the silica shells. From them, hollow silica rods and rods with an increased responsiveness to a magnetic field could be obtained in straightforward ways. Bijels were prepared by trapping rod-like particles on a percolating liquid-liquid interface. The familiar bicontinuous organization of liquid domains was observed after structural arrest. At a fixed volume per particle it is demonstrated that for rod-like particles the domain size decreases faster with increasing quantity of particles than in the case of spherical particles. Additionally, the packing of the rods at the interface was elucidated, revealing several characteristic features. In particle-stabilized droplet emulsions rapid evaporation of the continuous phase and eventual full mixing of the liquid phases can leave a cellular network of particles. The formation and eventual stability of these networks were investigated in detail with confocal microscopy. When colloids are completely wetted by the minority component of an asymmetric binary mixture there can be substantial temperature and composition regimes outside the binodal where shear-induced aggregation can take place. This happens as adsorbed layers present at the particle surfaces coalesce and bind particles through a liquid bridge. Depending on particle concentration, percolating networks can form of rods wetted by the minority phase after temperature quenching such a system just across the binodal.