Introduction to colloidal dispersions in external fields
Institut für Theoretische Physik II: Weiche Materie, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany
Received: 6 September 2013
Revised: 17 September 2013
Published online: 25 November 2013
Progress in the research area of colloidal dispersions in external fields within the last years is reviewed. Colloidal dispersions play a pivotal role as model systems for phase transitions in classical statistical mechanics. In recent years the leading role of colloids to realize model systems has become evident not only for equilibrium situations but also far away from equilibrium. By using external fields (such as shear flow, electric, magnetic or laseroptical fields as well as confinement), a colloidal suspension can be brought into nonequilibrium in a controlled way. Various kinds of equilibrium and nonequilibrium phenomena explored by colloidal dispersions are described providing also a guide and summary to this special issue. Particular emphasis is put on the comparison of real-space experiments, computer simulations and statistical theories.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2013