Structure and kinetics in colloidal films with competing interactions

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Using computer simulation we explore how two-dimensional systems of colloids with a combination of short-range attractive and long-range repulsive interactions generate complex structures and kinetics. Cooperative effects mean the attractive potential, despite being very short-ranged compared to the repulsion, can have significant effects on large scale structure. By considering the number of particles occupying a notional `repulsion zone' defined by the repulsion length scale, we classify different characteristic structural regimes in which the combination of attraction and repulsion leads to different structural and kinetic outcomes, such as compact clustering, chain labyrinths and coexisting clusters and chains. In some regimes small changes in repulsion range and/or area fraction can change timescales of structural evolution by many orders of magnitude.
Original languageEnglish
Article number012603
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2019


  • colloids
  • films
  • membranes
  • phase separation
  • kinetics
  • filters


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