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Linear models for colloidal electrostatic interactions have long
proved useful for explaining the qualitative
behavior of charge-stabilized suspensions.
Many of these properties, after all, seem to be quite insensitive
to details of the pair potential.
The present study demonstrates that linear models for colloidal interactions
fail to explain the elastic properties of strongly interacting
charge-stabilized colloidal crystals.
Hopefully, shortcomings in our understanding of
colloidal electrostatic interactions will be addressed through continued
A quantitative and analytically tractable description
of many-body interactions in charge-stabilized suspensions should
be sought with some urgency since
quantitative and qualitative
inadequacies in the linear theory may pose impediments to
progress in fields as diverse as protein crystallization,
self-assembly of colloidal photonic materials, and stabilization
of industrial suspensions.
We would like to acknowledge enlightening conversations with
Stuart Rice, Cherry Murray, Sunil Sinha,
John Crocker, Tom Chou, Tom Witten, Yu Chen Shen, and David Oxtoby.
This work was supported by the National Science Foundation
through Grant No. DMR-9320378.
David G. Grier