Abstract

We present a new use of dynamic light scattering that permits the determination of the viscoelastic behavior of a complex fluid. By describing the motion of a scattering particle in a viscoelastic medium in terms of a generalized Langevin equation with a memory function, we relate the time evolution of its mean-square displacement to the frequency-dependent storage and loss moduli of the medium. The utility of this technique is illustrated through the application of diffusing-wave spectroscopy to probe the viscoelastic behavior of two complex fluids. The properties of a concentrated suspension of colloidal particles interacting as hard spheres are shown to be strongly influenced by the incipient colloidal glass transition, which leads to an extended range of frequencies over which they behave like an elastic solid. Similar elasticity is observed in a compressed emulsion, resulting in this case from the additional interfacial energy of the deformed droplets. In both cases diffusing-wave spectroscopy is used to measure the frequency dependence of the storage and loss moduli, and these results are compared with those from mechanical measurements. Besides providing a purely optical method for measuring mechanical properties, this technique provides new insight into the origin of the viscoelastic behavior.

© 1997 Optical Society of America

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