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'Two-Faced' Particles Act Like Tiny Submarines
Date:2/29/2008

viously.

The term "Janus particle" comes from the name of a Roman god with two faces. Velev says that these materials have the potential to perform a variety of applications.

"You can imagine other types of Janus particles comprising a 'smart gel' that responds to a change in its environment and then releases drugs, for example," Velev says. Fabricating these responsive materials on the microscale and nanoscale is an exciting and rapidly developing area of science, he adds.

"We are able to create tiny Janus particles of the same size and shape and are beginning to learn how to give them functionality," Velev said. "The next step is to create more complex particles that are able to perform more specialized functions in addition to propelling themselves around."

The research is funded by the National Science Foundation and a Camile and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar grant.

Note to editors: The abstract of the paper follows.

"Induced Charge Electrophoresis of Metallodielectric Particles"

Authors: Sumit Gangwal, Olivier J. Cayre and Dr. Orlin D. Velev, NC State University; Dr. Martin Z. Bazant, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Published: Feb. 4, 2008, in Physical Review Letters

Abstract: The application of ac electric fields in aqueous suspensions of anisotropic particles leads to unbalanced liquid flows and nonlinear, induced-charge electrophoretic motion. We report experimental observations of the motion of Janus microparticles with one dielectric and one metal-coated hemisphere induced by uniform fields of frequency 100Hz-10kHz in NaCl solutions. The motion is perpendicular to the field axis and persists after particles are attracted to a glass wall. This phenomenon may find application in microactuators, microsensors and microfluidic devices.

Dr. Orlin Velev, (919) 513-4318 or odvelev@unity.ncsu.edu

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SOURCE North Carolina State University
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