Suppose a spherical colloidal particle surrounded by a near-critical binary fluid mixture in the homogeneous phase. The particle surface usually preferentially attracts one component of the mixture, and the resultant concentration gradient, which causes the osmotic pressure, becomes significant in the ambient near-criticality. The concentration profile is deformed by the particle motion, and can generate a nonzero force exerted on the moving particle. This link was previously shown to slightly suppress the positional equal-time correlation of a particle trapped by a harmonic potential. This previous study presupposed a small fluctuation amplitude of a particle much larger than the correlation length, a weak preferential attraction, and the Gaussian model for the free-energy functional of the mixture. In the present study, we calculate the equal-time correlation without assuming the weak preferential attraction and show that the suppression becomes much more distinct in some range of the trap stiffness because of the increased induced mass. This suggests the possible experimental usage of a trapped particle as a probe for local environments of a near-critical binary fluid mixture.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)