Encyclopedia of Biophysics

Living Edition
| Editors: Gordon Roberts, Anthony Watts, European Biophysical Societies

Dynamics of Colloids and Macromolecules

  • Stefan U. EgelhaafEmail author
  • Wilson C. K. Poon
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-35943-9_286-1



The dynamics of colloids and macromolecules is a very broad topic. It deals with time-dependent phenomena of all kinds in colloidal suspensions and macromolecular solutions. Due to space limitations, here, we concentrate on a single aspect: Brownian motion in dilute dispersions.

The colloidal and macromolecular world is dominated by thermal agitation. This leads not only to internal motion in flexible macromolecules but also to rotational and translational diffusion. A study of the translational diffusion of colloids by Jean Perrin (1923) first convinced the scientific world of the granularity of matter: The Brownian motion of a colloid seen in a microscope is the random motion of the molecules in the surrounding liquid made visible. Today, probing the Brownian motion of colloids and macromolecules forms the foundation of one of the most useful techniques for particle sizing:...

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The version of the theory of DDM given here was originally due to Prof. Peter Pusey. We thank Dr. Laurence Wilson for supplying Fig. 3 and the associated data.


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Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies' Association (EBSA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Condensed Matter Physics LaboratoryHeinrich Heine UniversityDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.SUPA, School of Physics and AstronomyThe University of EdinburghEdinburghUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Stephen E. Harding
    • 1
  • Mary Philips-Jones
  1. 1.School of Biosciences, NCMH LaboratoryUniversity of NottinghamSutton BoningtonUK