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The Kinetics of Crystallization of Colloids and Proteins: A Light Scattering StudyHard-sphere colloidal systems serve as model systems for aggregation, nucleation, crystallization and gelation as well as interesting systems in their own right.There is strong current interest in using colloidal systems to form photonic crystals. A major scientific thrust of NASA's microgravity research is the crystallization of proteins for structural determination. The crystallization of proteins is a complicated process that requires a great deal of trial and error experimentation. In spite of a great deal of work, "better" protein crystals cannot always be grown in microgravity and conditions for crystallization are not well understood. Crystallization of colloidal systems interacting as hard spheres and with an attractive potential induced by entropic forces have been studied in a series of static light scattering experiments. Additionally, aggregation of a protein as a function of pH has been studied using dynamic light scattering. For our experiments we used PMMA (polymethylacrylate) spherical particles interacting as hard spheres, with no attractive potential. These particles have a radius of 304 nanometers, a density of 1.22 gm/ml and an index of refraction of 1.52. A PMMA colloidal sample at a volume fraction of approximately 54% was index matched in a solution of cycloheptyl bromide (CHB) and cis-decalin. The sample is in a glass cylindrical vial that is placed in an ALV static and dynamic light scattering goniometer system. The vial is immersed in a toluene bath for index matching to minimize flair. Vigorous shaking melts any colloidal crystals initially present. The sample is illuminated with diverging laser light (632.8 nanometers) from a 4x microscope objective placed so that the beam is approximately 1 cm in diameter at the sample location. The sample is rotated about its long axis at approximately 3.5 revolutions per minute (highest speed) as the colloidal crystal system is non-ergodic. The scattered light is detected at various angles using the ALV light detection optics, which is fed into an APD detector module and linked to a computer. The scattering angle (between 12 and 160 degrees), scattering angle step size (0.1 degree minimum) and acquisition time (minimum 3 s) is set by the user.
Document ID
Document Type
McClymer, Jim
(Maine Univ. ME United States)
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
July 1, 2002
Publication Information
Publication: Research Reports: 2001 NASA/ASEE Summer Faculty Fellowship Program
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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