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Title: Spectroscopy and dynamics of colloidal particles and systems at interfaces
Author: Moore, Lee James
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis presents an investigation of the dynamic properties of wide range of interfacial systems, from colloidal particles in solution, through the realm of aerosols and onto studies of molecular adsorption at an interface. The primary experimental technique utilized is optical tweezers. An exploration of the history of the use of radiation pressure to manipulate matter is presented, followed by an introduction to how optical tweezers work. Some of the more advanced methods of tweezing are discussed, with an emphasis on the use of spatial light modulators (SLMs) to realise dynamic holographic optical tweezers (DHOTs), an example of which has been constructed within our laboratory using off-the-shelf optical components, and combined with a spectrometer to facilitate high resolution spectroscopic studies of microscopic systems. The spectroscopic analysis of microparticles is greatly enhanced by optical feedback generated when the wavelength of light utilized is an integer number of wavelengths around the circumference of the microsphere. Enhanced signal occurs at these wavelengths, termed whispering gallery modes (WGMs). The absolute position of these resonances depends strongly upon the shape, size and refractive index of the particle, and is predicted by Mie theory. A discussion of the concepts behind Mie theory, as well as how to use an experimental WGM spectrum to deduce the size and composition of a microparticle, is provided. This technique is then put to use in a detailed study on the properties of single aerosols, comprised of sodium chloride solution, and generated using a handheld medical nebulizer. Studies have been carried out on both evaporating and growing droplets trapped with a Gaussian beam; in the latter case, periods of size stability are observed, owing to resonant absorption of radiation at the trapping laser wavelength. The SLM can be used to change the trapping laser to a Laguerre-Gaussian (LG) mode, and an investigation of how this affects the dynamics of the droplet is presented. It is found that the use of LG modes with $ellgeq10$ produced Raman spectra with significantly more intense WGMs, and also suppressed droplet evaporation. Through observations made with fluorescent polystyrene microspheres, it is argued that the LG modes are more efficient at coupling into WGMs of the droplets. Leading on from these experiments on salt water droplets, experiments have been conducted using ionic liquids (ILs). These fluids have many fascinating properties and potential applications. The optical trapping of droplets comprised of aqueous solutions of the ionic liquid ethylammonium nitrate (EAN) and water has been demonstrated for the first time. These droplets are analysed spectroscopically by illuminating them with the output from a broadband LED; WGMs that are observed in the backscattered light are used to determine their size and composition. The response of the droplets to conditions of varying relative humidity has also been investigated. In order to characterise the relative humidity experienced by both the salt water and IL droplets, the concentration of water vapour within the trapping cells has been measured using diode laser absorption spectroscopy. The spatially modulated laser beam is then utilized in a different fashion; instead of optically tweezing a sample, a low numerical aperture objective lens is utilized to focus the laser onto the surface of a gold coated microscope slide. When a colloidal sample is placed on this surface, the thermal gradients cause the particles to form two dimensional crystals. The SLM is utilized to form multiple nucleation sites, and the dynamics of the crystals are directly observed in real time using video microscopy. It is found that grain rotation-induced grain coalescence (GRIGC) occurs, with the rotation of both crystals before coalescence. Control over the grain size is achieved by altering the separation of the laser spots, and shows that the time scale for grain boundary annealing in our system is in good agreement with theoretical expressions formulated for nanocrystal growth. Finally, as a complimentary technique to the microparticle spectroscopy previously discussed, a bulk interface is probed by using evanescent wave broadband cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (EW-BBCEAS) specifically to study the adsorption of cytochrome c (cyt c) to a fused silica surface. Visible radiation from a supercontinuum source is coupled into an optical cavity consisting of a pair of broadband high reflectivity mirrors, and a total internal reflection (TIR) event at the prism/water interface. Aqueous solutions of cyt c are placed onto the TIR footprint on the prism surface and the subsequent protein adsorption is probed by the resulting evanescent wave. The time integrated cavity output is directed into a spectrometer, where it is dispersed and analysed. The broadband nature of the source allows observation of a wide spectral range (ca 250 nm in the visible). The system is calibrated by measuring the absorption spectra of dyes of a known absorbance. Absorption spectra of cyt c are obtained for both S and P polarized radiation, allowing information about the orientation of the adsorbed protein to be extracted.
Supervisor: Ritchie, Grant A. D. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Laser Spectroscopy ; Surface chemistry ; Microscopy ; Microscopy and microanalysis ; Nanostructures ; Atmospheric,Oceanic,and Planetary physics ; colloid ; optical tweezers ; aerosols ; nanocrystals ; whispering gallery modes ; microparticle spectroscopy