Experimental study of the effect of external electric fields on interfacial dynamics of colloidal particles

Yutaka Kazoe, Minami Yoda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The interaction of colloidal particles with a planar surface (i.e., wall) in the presence of an electric field applied parallel to the planar surface is of interest in various microfluidic devices. Evanescent wave-based particle-tracking velocimetry was used to investigate the dynamics of a dilute suspension of polystyrene and silica particles (radii a = 110-463 nm) in a monovalent electrolyte solution with a Debye length of 6.8 nm driven through a microchannel by external electric fields E = 15-31 V/cm over the first 300 nm next to the channel wall. The particle velocity parallel to the wall due to electrophoresis and electroosmosis was in good agreement with the Helmholtz-Smoluchowski relation, and the hydrodynamic interactions between the wall and the particles were negligible, for all particle types. Measurements of the distribution of particles along the wall-normal coordinate, however, suggest that an additional force as great as 30 fN that repels the negatively charged particles away from the wall is induced by nonzero E. The results suggest that the magnitude of this force scales as E2 and a2 but is independent of the particle Χ-potential, in agreement with previous theoretical studies. However, estimates of the force assuming that the particles have a Boltzmann distribution were up to 40 times greater than the theoretical predictions, which only considered "remote" particle-wall interactions. These results are, to our knowledge, the first to observe a repulsive wall-normal force due to an applied electric field for near-wall colloidal particles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11481-11488
Number of pages8
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Sept 20
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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