TANAKA LAB. Physics of Soft Condensed Matter The University of Tokyo Graduate School of Engineering Department of Applied Physics The University of Tokyo Institute of Industrial Science Department of Fundamental Engineering
Entrance > Research > Polymer, Liquid Crystal, Colloid, Membrane, Protein > Phase Separation Dynamics > Phase Separation of Colloidal Suspensions
Polymer, Liquid Crystal, Colloid, Membrane, ProteinLiquid, Glass, GelLight and Soft Matter
Phase Separation in a Normal Fluid MixtureViscoelastic Phase SeparationPhase Separation of Colloidal SuspensionsNumerical Simulations of Viscoelastic Phase SeparationMicro-Phase Separation in Diblock CopolymerInterplay between Wetting and Phase SeparationPhase Separation under External FieldsDynamic Control of the Smectic MembranesCritical Phenomena in Polymer SolutionsCoil-Globule Transition of a Single PolymerColloidal ‘Atom’Colloidal Gel NetworkElectrophoretic Separation of Charged ParticlesAggregation of Charged Colloidal SystemsSurface-Assisted Monodomain Formation of a Lyotropic Liquid CrystalShear-Induced Topological Transitions in a Membrane SystemSpontaneous Onion-Structure FormationSelf-Organization in Phase Separation of a Lyotropic Liquid CrystalTransparent Nematic Phase in a Liquid-Crystal-Based MicroemulsionColloidal Aggregation in a Nematic Liquid CrystalPhase Separation of a Mixture of an Isotropic Liquid and a Liquid CrystalSpontaneous Partitioning of Particles in a Membrane System

Phase Separation of Colloidal Suspensions

Phase Separation of Colloidal Suspensions Colloidal suspension can be regarded as an ideal model system of emulsions, protein solutions, foods, and inks. When there are strong attractive interactions between colloidal particles, they aggregate, phase separate, and sometimes form gel. The basic understanding of the resulting formation of superstructures is of crucial importance from both the scientific and industrial viewpoints. Here we provide clear experimental evidence suggesting that phase separation of colloidal suspensions can take the following kinetic pathway accompanying a metastable transient gel state: upon the phase separation, a percolated network is formed by a hierarchical clustering mechanism even at an extremely low colloid volume fraction (<10^(-3)). Then the network structure coarsens with time under the influence of the connectivity and the resulting self-generated mechanical stress. The similarity of this behaviour to droplet-forming viscoelastic phase separation in a dilute polymer solution suggests that colloid phase separation may be classified as viscoelastic phase separation.