Freezing Transition and Interaction Potential in Monolayers of Microparticles at Fluid Interfaces
The structure and the interaction potential of monolayers of charged polystyrene microparticles at fluid interfaces have been studied by optical microscopy. Microparticles of different sizes have been studied over a broad range of surface particle densities. The structural characterization is based on the analysis of images obtained by digital optical microscopy. From the experimental images, radial distribution functions, hexagonal bond order correlation functions, and temporal orientational correlation functions have been calculated for different monolayer states at both the air/water and oil/water interfaces. The interaction potential has been calculated from the structure factor using integral equations within the hypernetted chain closure relationship. For particles trapped at the oil?water interface, it was found that, upon increasing the surface coverage, a freezing transition occurs, that leads to the formation of a 2D crystalline structure. We have studied the freezing densities of particle monolayers at the oil/water interface and compared them with Monte Carlo simulation results reported by H. Lo?wen. In contrast, at the air?water interface, freezing is inhibited due to the formation of particle aggregates.