Monday, November 4, 2013

Optical manipulation of charged microparticles in polar fluids

Giuseppe Pesce, Vincenzo Lisbino, Giulia Rusciano, Antonio Sasso

In this study, we report a systematic study of the response of a charged microparticle confined in an optical trap and driven by electric fields. The particle is embedded in a polar fluid, hence, the role of ions and counterions forming a double layer around the electrodes and the particle surface itself has been taken into account. We analyze two different cases: (i) electrodes energized by a step-wise voltage (DC mode) and (ii) electrodes driven by a sinusoidal voltage (AC mode). The experimental outcomes are analyzed in terms of a model that combines the electric response of the electrolytic cell and the motion of the trapped particle. In particular, for the DC mode we analyze the transient particle motion and correlate it with the electric current flowing in the cell. For the AC mode, the stochastic and deterministic motion of the trapped particle is analyzed either in the frequency domain (power spectral density, PSD) or in the time domain (autocorrelation function). Moreover, we will show how these different approaches (DC and AC modes) allow us, assuming predictable the applied electric field (here generated by plane parallel electrodes), to provide accurate estimation (3%) of the net charge carried by the microparticle. Vice versa, we also demonstrate how, once predetermined the charge, the trapped particle acts as a sensitive probe to reveal locally electric fields generated by arbitrary electrode geometries (in this work, wire-tip geometry).
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