Inverse density functional theory as a tool for measuring colloid-surface interactions

Mingqing Lu, Richard Beckham, Michael A. Bevan, David M. Ford

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Recent advances in optical microscopy, such as total internal reflection and confocal scanning laser techniques, now permit the direct three dimensional tracking of large numbers of colloidal particles both near and far from interfaces. A novel application of this technology, currently being developed by the Bevan research group under the name of Diffusing Colloidal Probe Microscopy (DCPM), is to use colloidal particles as probes of the energetic characteristics of a surface. A major theoretical challenge in implementing DCPM is to obtain the potential energy of a single particle in the external field created by the surface, from the measured particle trajectories in a dense colloidal system. We present an approach based on an inversion of density functional theory (DFT), where we calculate the single-particle surface potential from the experimentally measured equilibrium density profile in a non-dilute colloidal fluid. The underlying DFT formulation is based on the recent work of Zhou and Ruckenstein. Both simulated (Monte Carlo) and real DCPM data were used to test the approach. We found that the inversion procedure reproduces the true particle-surface potential energy to an accuracy within typical DCPM experimental limitations (∼0.1 kT) at low to moderate colloidal densities. The choice of DFT closures also significantly affects the accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
StatePublished - 2005
Event05AIChE: 2005 AIChE Annual Meeting and Fall Showcase - Cincinnati, OH, United States
Duration: Oct 30 2005Nov 4 2005


Conference05AIChE: 2005 AIChE Annual Meeting and Fall Showcase
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityCincinnati, OH


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