The effects of colloidal particles confined between lamellar membrane slits on interlamellar interactions have been investigated by small-angle neutron scattering. On addition of colloidal particles to a lamellar phase composed of a non-ionic surfactant, the first lamellar peak becomes sharper and higher-order peaks appear. Thus the colloidal particles suppress undulation fluctuations of lamellar membranes by their steric hindrance, which results in a repulsive interlamellar interaction. As the interlamellar distance decreases, the position of the Bragg peak shifts towards higher [where q is the magnitude of scattering vector, given by q = (4π/λ) sin θ, where 2θ is the scattering angle and λ is the wavelength] and the peak intensity weakens. This tendency is completely opposite to the behavior of non-ionic surfactant lamellar phases, where the interlamellar interaction is governed by the Helfrich interaction. A phenomenological free-energy model is proposed based on the restriction of membrane fluctuations by colloidal particles. This model describes the experimental results well.
- Helfrich interaction
- Interlamellar interactions