Hard and soft colloids at fluid interfaces: Adsorption, interactions, assembly & rheology

Omkar S. Deshmukh*, Dirk van den Ende , Martien Cohen Stuart, Frieder Mugele, Michel H.G. Duits

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

178 Citations (Scopus)
119 Downloads (Pure)


Soft microgel particles inherently possess qualities of both polymers as well as particles. We review the similarities and differences between soft microgel particles and stiff colloids at fluid-fluid interfaces. We compare two fundamental aspects of particle-laden interfaces namely the adsorption kinetics and the interactions between adsorbed particles. Although it is well established that the transport of both hard particles and microgels to the interface is driven by diffusion, the analysis of the adsorption kinetics needs reconsideration and a proper equation of state relating the surface pressure to the adsorbed mass should be used. We review the theoretical and experimental investigations into the interactions of particles at the interface. The rheology of the interfacial layers is intimately related to the interactions, and the differences between hard particles and microgels become pronounced. The assembly of particles into the layer is another distinguishing factor that separates hard particles from soft microgel particles. Microgels deform substantially upon adsorption and the stability of a microgel-stabilized emulsion depends on the conformational changes triggered by external stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-227
Number of pages13
JournalAdvances in colloid and interface science
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2015


  • Interfacial rheology
  • Particle laden interfaces
  • Pickering emulsions
  • PNIPAM microgel particles
  • 2023 OA procedure


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