Friday, May 19, 2017

Brownian motion as a new probe of wettability

Jianyong Mo, Akarsh Simha, and Mark G. Raizen

Understanding wettability is crucial for optimizing oil recovery, semiconductor manufacturing, pharmaceutical industry, and electrowetting. In this letter, we study the effects of wettability on Brownian motion. We consider the cases of a sphere in an unbounded fluid medium, as well as a sphere placed in the vicinity of a plane wall. For the first case, we show the effects of wettability on the statistical properties of the particles’ motion, such as velocity autocorrelation, velocity, and thermal force power spectra over a large range of time scales. We also propose a new method to measure wettability based on the particles’ Brownian motion. In addition, we compare the boundary effects on Brownian motion imposed by both no-slip and perfect-slip flat walls. We emphasize the surprising boundary effects on Brownian motion imposed by a perfect-slip wall in the parallel direction, such as a higher particle mobility parallel to a perfect flat wall compared to that in the absence of the wall, as well as compared to a particle near a no-slip flat wall.

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