Emulsions are the base for variety of products in industry, food production, cosmetics, pharmacy, and new materials. Many of the important applications of emulsions are controlled by interactions between oil droplets and solid surfaces. The aim of this project is to carry out novel investigations into the interaction between droplets and solid surfaces undergoing sliding contact. Importantly, and for the first time, this project will combine force measurements and spectroscopic characterisation of the system, enabling us to ‘see’ and ‘feel’ the interaction between droplet and solid surface under sliding conditions. In addition, the project will take advantage of the most advanced form of atomic force microscopy for studying the contact between two surface: interferometric-AFM. A further aim for the project is to go one step beyond considering the droplets as representative of the dispersed oil phase in an emulsion. The interaction of a surfactant-coated oil droplet with a solid surface will be a useful model system for considering cell-surface interactions. The control of attachment of cells to surfaces within microfluidic channels is a key goal for studies of cell immune response for disease detection.
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