Colloidal Organosilica Spheres for Three-Dimensional Confocal Microscopy

Yanyan Liu, Taiki Yanagishima, Arran Curran, Kazem V Edmond, Stefano Sacanna, and Roel PA Dullens

Langmuir 2019 35 7962

We describe the synthesis and application of 3-(trimethoxysilyl)propyl methacrylate (TPM) particles as a colloidal model system for three-dimensional (3D) confocal scanning laser microscopy. The effect of the initial TPM concentration on the growth and polydispersity of the particles and a recently developed solvent transfer method to disperse particles in a refractive index and density-matching solvent mixture are reviewed and discussed. To fully characterize the system as a colloidal model, we measure the pair potential between the TPM particles directly using optical tweezers. Finally, we use 3D confocal microscopy to image a sedimentation diffusion equilibrium of TPM particles to characterize the phase behavior and particle dynamics through successful detection and tracking of all particles in the field of view.