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The Next Generation of Colloidal Probes: A Universal Approach for Soft and Ultra‐Small Particles
Andreas Mark, Nicolas Helfricht, Astrid Rauh, Matthias Karg, Georg Papastavrou:
Small, 15, 1902976 (2019)
doi: 10.1002/smll.201902976

The colloidal probe technique, which is based on the atomic force microscope,revolutionizes direct force measurements in many fields, such as interface science or biomechanics. It allows for the first time to determine interaction forces on the single particle or cell level. However, for many applications, important "blind spots" remain, namely, the possibility to probe interaction potentials for nanoparticles or complex colloids with a soft outer shell. Definitely, these are colloidal systems that are currently of major industrial importance and interest from theory. The here-presented novel approach allows for overcome the aforementioned limitations. Its applicability has been demonstrated for 300 nm sized carboxylate-modified latex particles as well as sub-micron core-shell particles with a soft poly-N-isopropylacrylamide hydrogel shell and a rigid silica core. For the latter, which until now cannot be studied by the colloidal probe technique, determined is the temperature dependency of electrosteric and adhesion forces has been determined on the single particle level.