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Science  17 Nov 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5495, pp. 1307-1308
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5495.1307

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The mechanism by which colloidal suspensions containing particles with magnetic or electric dipole moments phase separate has long remained obscure. Pincus highlights the report by Tlusty and Safran, who have found that a mechanism derived from polymer physics is applicable to this problem because the suspended colloidal particles form polymerlike chains. A wide range of seemingly different systems, from biopolymers to inorganic ceramic networks, may ultimately be described within a general model.