Colloids (colloidal particles or nanoparticles) and their in-situ characterizations are important topics in colloid and interface science. In-situ visualization of colloids with X-ray microscopy is a growing frontier. Here, after a brief introduction on the method, we focus on its application for identifying nanoscale wettability of colloidal particles at fluid interfaces, which is a critical factor in colloidal self-assembly. We discuss a quantitative study on colloidal wettability with two microscopic methods: (i) X-ray microscopy by visualizing natural oil–water interfaces and (ii) confocal microscopy by visualizing fluorescently-labeled interfaces. Both methods show consistent estimation results in colloid–fluid interfacial tensions. This comparison strongly suggests a feasibility of X-ray microscopy as a promising in-situ protocol in colloid research, without fluorescent staining. Finally, we address a prospect of X-ray imaging for colloid and interface science.

This paper was originally published in Current Opinion in Colloid & Interface Science (2013) 17, 388-395.

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