Colloidal suspensions, heterogeneous fluids containing solid microscopic particles, play an important role in our everyday life, from food and pharmaceutical industries to medicine and nanotechnology. Colloidal suspensions can be divided in two major classes: equilibrium, and active, i.e. maintained out of thermodynamic equilibrium by external electric or magnetic fields, light, chemical reactions, or hydrodynamic shear flow. While the properties of equilibrium colloidal suspensions are fairly well understood, out-of-equilibrium colloids pose a formidable challenge and the research is in its early exploratory stage. The possibility of dynamic self-assembly, a natural tendency of simple building blocks to organize into complex functional architectures, is one of the most remarkable properties of out-of-equilibrium colloids. Examples range from tunable, self-healing colloidal crystals and membranes to self-assembled microswimmers and robots. In contrast to their equilibrium counterparts, out-of-equilibrium colloidal suspensions may exhibit novel material properties, e.g. reduced viscosity, enhanced self-diffusivity, etc. This work reviews recent developments in the field of self-assembly and collective behavior of out-of-equilibrium colloids, with the focus on the fundamental physical mechanisms.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)