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From Polymers to Colloids: Engineering the Dynamic Properties of Hairy Particles

  • Dimitris VlassopoulosEmail author
  • George Fytas
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Polymer Science book series (POLYMER, volume 236)

Abstract

For many years, colloidal hard spheres and polymeric coils served as model limiting cases of soft matter behavior. Softening the potential of interactions has been an obvious possibility for altering properties and has been explored in great detail with sterically interacting charged colloids. As the behavior of such (and technologically relevant) systems is very complex, it is desired to isolate the role of interactions and use well-characterized systems. Today, it is possible to achieve this goal by taking advantage of the capabilities of macromolecular and colloidal chemistry. We show how to use well-defined soft sphere systems interacting via excluded volume repulsions to generate a rich variety of phase states and materials properties. This approach provides opportunities for bridging the gap between polymers and colloids in terms of property variation, and thus designing soft systems with desired properties. At the same time, previously unexplored aspects of important open problems such as glass transition and effects of solvent on the dynamics of correlated systems are addressed. Appropriate blending of the two main classes of soft matter and further directing their assembly and dynamic response has now become a challenging new task.

Keywords

Colloidal dispersions Colloidal glasses Dynamics Grafted particles Hairy particles Micelles Nanoparticle-polymer hybrids Phase diagrams Polymers Rheology Soft colloids Softness Stars 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are indebted to many long-term collaborators and colleagues, especially J. Roovers, C. N. Likos, N. Hadjichristidis, and A. N. Semenov. Our first investigations on soft colloids were undertaken in collaboration with our late friend Tadeusz Pakula more than 10 years ago. We acknowledge the contributions of our current and former students and in particular M. Kapnistos and E. Stiakakis. We are also thankful to J. Mewis for critical reading of the manuscript and helpful comments. Financial support from the EU (RTN-HUSC HPRN-CT-2000-00017 and NoE-Softcomp NMP3-CT-2004-502235) and the Greek General Secretariat for Research and Technology (PENED) is gratefully acknowledged.

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© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FORTH, Institute of Electronic Structure & Laser, Department of Materials Science & TechnologyUniversity of CreteHeraklionGreece

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