As colloidal dispersions when studied on time and length scales typical for static and dynamic light scattering appear like macro atoms in a homogeneous background, there exists a formal analogy between phase behaviour, short range order and - with some restriction - particle dynamics of concentrated colloidal dispersions and atomic fluids (exception: on short times the myriads of collisions with solvent molecules induce a random component in the colloid trajectories ( Brownian motion; in addition, motions of different colloidal particles become coupled by special solvent-mediated forces ( hydrodynamic interactions; the long-time dynamics of colloids is, however, essentially unaffected by these effects). This allows to borrow concepts from liquid state theory to describe the behaviour of colloidal dispersions. On the other hand, colloids can be considered as model systems where fundamental problems of condensed matter research can be studied which can not or only with difficulty approached in atomic systems (e.g. glassy freezing of liquids, crystal nucleation).
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