Dynamic light scattering from colloidal fractal monolayers
Physical review. E, Statistical physics, plasmas, fluids, and related interdisciplinary topics
We address experimentally the problem of how the structure of a surface monolayer determines the visco-elasticity of the interface. Optical microscopy and surface quasi--elastic light scattering have been used to characterize aggregation of CaCO_3 particles at the air--water interface. The structures formed by cluster-cluster aggregation are two dimensional fractals which grow to eventually form a percolating network. This process is measured through image analysis. On the same system we
... the dynamics of interfacial thermal fluctuations (surface ripplons), and we discuss how the relaxation process is affected by the growing clusters. We show that the structures start damping the ripplons strongly when the two length scales are comparable. No macroscopic surface pressure is measured and this is in contrast to lipid, surfactant or polymer monolayers at concentrations corresponding to surface coverage. This observation and the difficulty in fitting the ripplon spectrum with traditional models suggest that a different physical mechanism might be responsible for the observed damping of ripplons in this system.