We have used a variety of different applied fields to control the density, growth, and structure of colloidal crystals. Gravity exerts a body force proportional to the buoyant mass and in equilibrium produces a height-dependent concentration profile. A similar body force can be obtained with electric fields on charged particles (electrophoresis), a temperature gradient on all particles, or an electric field gradient on uncharged particles (dielectrophoresis). The last is particularly interesting since its magnitude and sign can be changed by tuning the applied frequency. We study these effects in bulk (making 'dielectrophoretic bottles' or traps), to control concentration profiles during nucleation and growth and near surfaces. We also study control of non-spherical and optically anisotropic particles with the light field from laser tweezers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Materials Science
- Condensed Matter Physics