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Uniform crystalline colloidal cholesterol particles of narrow size distribution were obtained by precipitation. The method consisted of adding a miscible non-solvent (water) into cholesterol solutions of different alcohols and acetone, without any additives. The properties of the resulting particles depended in a sensitive way on the concentration of all reactants, temperature, pH, ionic strength, and aging time. The major observed effects were due to the solubility of cholesterol, which was strongly affected by the solvent mixture and temperature. Precipitation in 1-propanol/water system yielded stable dispersions of well-defined particles, which were used to evaluate the effects of different experimental parameters on their properties. Aging of stable dispersions resulted in multi-layered aggregation of the primary platelets, the degree and rate of which process was strongly affected by temperature. Finally, it was shown that the colloidal cholesterol particles could be coated with homogeneous silica layers in order to alter their surface characteristics.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, volume 315, issue 2, in 2007. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcis.2007.07.010

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