Department of Physics Papers

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Journal Article

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Applying an electric field to an aqueous colloidal dispersion establishes a complex interplay of forces among the highly mobile simple ions, the more highly charged but less mobile colloidal spheres, and the surrounding water. This interplay can induce a wide variety of visually striking dynamical instabilities even when the applied field is constant. This paper reports on the highly organized patterns that emerge when electrohydrodynamic forces compete with gravity in thin layers of charge-stabilized colloidal spheres subjected to low voltages between parallel-plate electrodes. Depending on the conditions, these spheres can form levitating clusters with morphologies ranging from tumbling clouds to toroidal vortex rings and to writhing labyrinths.


Suggested Citation:
Han, Y., Grier, D.G. (2005). Colloidal electroconvection in a thin horizontal cell. I. Microscopic cooperative patterns at low voltage. The Journal of Chemical Physics 122, 164701.

© 2005 American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in The Journal of Chemical Physics and may be found at

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Date Posted: 07 July 2011

This document has been peer reviewed.