Particle monolayer assembly in evaporating salty colloidal droplets

Myrthe A. Bruning*, Laura Loeffen, Alvaro Marin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
146 Downloads (Pure)


Ring-shaped deposits can be often found after a droplet evaporates on a substrate. If the fluid in the droplet is a pure liquid and its contact line remains pinned during the process, then the mechanism behind such ring-shaped deposition is the well-known coffee-stain effect. However, adding small amounts of salt to such a droplet can change the internal flow dramatically and consequently change the deposition mechanism. Due to an increase of surface tension in the contact line region, a Marangoni flow arises which is directed from the apex of the droplet toward the contact line. As a result, particles arrive at the contact line following the liquid-air interface of the droplet. Interestingly, the deposit is also ring shaped, as in the classical coffee-stain effect, but with a radically different morphology: Particles form a monolayer along the liquid-air interface of the droplet, instead of a compact three-dimensional deposit. Using confocal microscopy, we study particle-per-particle how the assembly of the colloidal monolayer occurs during the evaporation of droplets for different initial concentration of sodium chloride and initial particle dilution. Our results are compared with classical diffusion-limited deposition models and open up an interesting scenario of deposits via interfacial particle assembly, which can easily yield homogeneous depositions by manipulating the initial salt and particle concentration in the droplet.

Original languageEnglish
Article number083603
JournalPhysical review fluids
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2020


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