We actuate with light & magnets, we fold & unfold DNA, we cell-free express proteins, we play with drops, marbles & interfaces, we organize particles, we harness coffee rings.

Our general method to control coffee rings with surfactants accepted in Langmuir!

23 March 2015. Our paper "Modulation of the coffee-ring effect in particle/surfactant mixtures: the importance of particle-interface interactions" has just been accepted for publication in Langmuir

We study the effect of surfactants on the deposits formed after the evaporation of colloidal suspension drops, at initial concentrations lower than the critical micellar concentrations, for various particle/surfactant mixtures. We show that the surfactant-mediated interactions between particles and the liquid-gas (LG) and liquid-solid (LS) interfaces, rather than the flow patterns, primarily define the morphology of the dry deposit in a robust and reproducible manner. For like-charged particle/surfactant mixtures, most of the particles form a ring-shaped deposit (according to the so called “coffee-ring effect”) but some particles can also be deposited inside the ring in a way that is modulated by electrostatic interactions between the particles and the LS interface. For oppositely charged systems, surfactant adsorption to the particle surface strongly affects particle-LG interface interactions, which in turn control the deposition pattern. For low surfactant concentrations, coffee-rings are systematically observed. For intermediate concentrations, the charge of surfactant-decorated particles becomes nearly neutral and their hydrophobicity is enhanced, which promotes particle trapping at the LG interface. A particle skin is formed and its deposition upon drying leads to homogenous disk-like patterns. For high surfactant concentrations, particle charge is reversed and coffee-rings are observed again. Notably, this ring-disk-ring evolution of the deposition behaviour as a function of surfactant concentration is observed in a variety of mixtures, regardless of particle absolute charge and surface chemistry as well as of surfactant charge and hydrophobicity. Its apparent universal character makes it a promising strategy for a robust control of particle deposition from evaporating drops.


Modulation of the coffee-ring effect in particle/surfactant mixtures: the importance of particle-interface interactions
M. Anyfantakis,* Z. Geng, M. Morel, S. Rudiuk, D. Baigl*
Langmuir 2015, 31, 4113 – 4120
 - doi : 10.1021/acs.langmuir.5b00453