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Colloids under External Control

  • Alfons van Blaaderen

Abstract

The ability of colloids to self-organize through a minimization of their free energy is a direct consequence of their well-defined thermodynamic temperature that manifests itself through the Brownian motion they perform. In this article, it will be shown that through the use of external fields such as electric and magnetic fields, gravity, structured or confining walls, and shear, this self-organization can be directed to make new advanced materials. Moreover, a start has been made toward colloidal model systems to study fundamental questions relating to materials science such as defect structure and dynamics, grain boundaries, wall and confinement effects, and tribology. Finally, we predict that the enhanced insights on how to use external fields will also lead to “smart” materials with properties that can be changed dynamically.

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Colloids under External Control

  • Alfons van Blaaderen

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