Sunday, February 1, 2015

Probing linear and nonlinear microrheology of viscoelastic fluids

J. R. Gomez-Solano and C. Bechinger

Bulk rheological properties of viscoelastic fluids have been extensively studied in macroscopic shearing geometries. However, little is known when an active microscopic probe is used to locally perturb them far from the linear-response regime. Using a colloidal particle dragged periodically by scanning optical tweezers through a viscoelastic fluid, we investigate both, its linear and nonlinear microrheological response. With increasing particle velocity, we observe a transition from constant viscosity to a thinning regime, where the drag force on the probe becomes a nonlinear function of the particle velocity. We demonstrate that this transition is only determined by the ratio of the fluid's equilibrium relaxation time and the period of the driving.

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