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Physical Review E


Depletion interaction potentials between micron-sized colloidal particles are induced by nanometer-scale surfactant micelles composed of hexaethylene glycol monododecyl ether (C12E6), and they are measured by video microscopy. The strength and range of the depletion interaction is revealed to arise from variations in shape anisotropy of the surfactant micelles. This shape anisotropy increases with increasing sample temperature. By fitting the colloidal interaction potentials to theoretical models, we extract micelle length and shape anisotropy as a function of temperature. This work introduces shape anisotropy tuning as a means to control interparticle interactions in colloidal suspensions, and it shows how the interparticle depletion potentials of micron-scale objects can be employed to probe the shape and size of surrounding macromolecules at the nanoscale.


This work is freely available courtesy of the American Physical Society.

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