802008 Fundamentals of Colloid and Interface Science

Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Reimhult, Erik
Offered in
Wintersemester 2022/23
Languages of instruction


This lecture provides an introduction to colloid and interface science. We start from the definitions of colloidal systems and their fundamental thermodynamic properties. The students will study what determines the sometimes unexpected behavior of colloidal suspensions and what links colloid and interface science concerning forces and interactions.
The focus is on understanding colloidal systems of biological, medical, and biotechnological relevance, thereby treating how colloids in aqueous solvents are affected by high concentration, polymers, and high ionic strength, characteristic of biological systems. Additionally, the course provides the fundamentals for understanding polymers in colloidal systems self-assembly.
A significant section of the course is devoted to methods to study and characterize colloidal systems, complementing methods used to characterize (bio)interfaces in the course “802301 Biomaterial interfaces and interactions”.
As the course progresses, we will advance from fundamental principles to describing and discussing relevant examples. These include the design of special nanoparticles (colloids) for biomaterials and biomedical applications, such as drug delivery, and a colloidal perspective on nanomaterial risks.

Previous knowledge expected

Basic knowledge of Physics, Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Mathematics. Having passed the course “802300 Biological Nanosciences and Nanotechnology” is a suitable preparation.
This course is part of a package and is preferably studied together with ”803303 Physical Chemistry”, “802301 Biomaterial interfaces and interactions”, and “803301 Biophysics”.

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

After the course, the students will understand the physical principles guiding colloidal system behavior based on thermodynamics and its link to interface interactions.
They will understand the practical options to tailor colloidal properties for desired applications in the subject areas of the Master’s program in Biotechnology and BOKU materials research areas.
The students will have an overview of the state-of-the-art tools and techniques used to study both fundamental and applied aspects of colloidal systems, particularly for the design of biomedical (nano)particles.
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.