Nonlinear field dependence of electrophoresis in high fields has been investigated theoretically, yet experimental studies have failed to reach consensus on the effect. In this Letter, we present a systematic study on the nonlinear electrophoresis of highly charged submicron particles in applied electric fields of up to several kV/cm. First, the particles are characterized in the low-field regime at different salt concentrations and the surface charge density is estimated. Subsequently, we use microfluidic channels and video tracking to systematically characterize the nonlinear response over a range of field strengths. Using velocity measurements on the single particle level, we prove that nonlinear effects are present at electric fields and surface charge densities that are accessible in practical conditions. Finally, we show that nonlinear behavior leads to unexpected particle trapping in channels.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)