Short- and long-time diffusion and dynamic scaling in suspensions of charged colloidal particles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We report on a comprehensive theory-simulation-experimental study of collective and self-diffusion in concentrated suspensions of charge-stabilized colloidal spheres. In theory and simulation, the spheres are assumed to interact directly by a hard-core plus screened Coulomb effective pair potential. The intermediate scattering function, fc(q, t), is calculated by elaborate accelerated Stokesian dynamics (ASD) simulations for Brownian systems where many-particle hydrodynamic interactions (HIs) are fully accounted for, using a novel extrapolation scheme to a macroscopically large system size valid for all correlation times. The study spans the correlation time range from the colloidal short-time to the long-time regime. Additionally, Brownian Dynamics (BD) simulation and mode-coupling theory (MCT) results of fc(q, t) are generated where HIs are neglected. Using these results, the influence of HIs on collective and self-diffusion and the accuracy of the MCT method are quantified. It is shown that HIs enhance collective and self-diffusion at intermediate and long times. At short times self-diffusion, and for wavenumbers outside the structure factor peak region also collective diffusion, are slowed down by HIs. MCT significantly overestimates the slowing influence of dynamic particle caging. The dynamic scattering functions obtained in the ASD simulations are in overall good agreement with our dynamic light scattering (DLS) results for a concentration series of charged silica spheres in an organic solvent mixture, in the experimental time window and wavenumber range. From the simulation data for the time derivative of the width function associated with fc(q, t), there is indication of long-time exponential decay of fc(q, t), for wavenumbers around the location of the static structure factor principal peak. The experimental scattering functions in the probed time range are consistent with a time-wavenumber factorization scaling behavior of fc(q, t) that was first reported by Segrè and Pusey [Phys. Rev. Lett. 77, 771 (1996)] for suspensions of hard spheres. Our BD simulation and MCT results predict a significant violation of exact factorization scaling which, however, is approximately restored according to the ASD results when HIs are accounted for, consistent with the experimental findings for fc(q, t). Our study of collective diffusion is amended by simulation and theoretical results for the self-intermediate scattering function, fs(q, t), and its non-Gaussian parameter α2(t) and for the particle mean squared displacement W(t) and its time derivative. Since self-diffusion properties are not assessed in standard DLS measurements, a method to deduce W(t) approximately from fc(q, t) is theoretically validated.


External organisations
  • National University of Cordoba, Argentina
  • National Scientific and Technical Research Council, Argentina
  • University of Guanajuato
  • Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
  • Jülich Research Centre
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Physical Chemistry
Original languageEnglish
Article number134902
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr 7
Publication categoryResearch