Shape-induced capilary interactions of colloidal particles

E.A. van Nierop, M.A. Stijnman, S. Hilgenfeldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


We show that near-spherical micrometer-sized colloidal particles at an interface of two fluids experience inter-particle forces merely as a consequence of their shape-induced capillary interaction. The interaction is strong even if the deviations from sphericity are on the nm-scale, and can hardly be avoided in experiment. For particles of 2 μm radius, a deformation of 20 nm can result in an attractive potential of 2kBT at a distance of 4 particle radii. Dynamical simulations of many particles confirm that the forces lead to aggregates of dendritic or hexagonal-lattice type. The latter pattern exhibits strong herringbone-phase orientational order.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-677
Number of pages7
JournalEurophysics letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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