Osmotic Propulsion: The Osmotic Motor

Condensed Matter journal club

Osmotic Propulsion: The Osmotic Motor

  • Event time: 11:30am
  • Event date: 9th October 2009
  • Speaker: (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
  • Location: Room 2511,

Event details


A model for self-propulsion of a colloidal particle—the osmotic motor—immersed in a dispersion of “bath” particles is presented. The nonequilibrium concentration of bath particles induced by a surfacechemical reaction creates an osmotic pressure imbalance on the motor causing it to move. The ratio of the speed of reaction to that of diffusion governs the bath particle distribution which is employed to calculate the driving force on the motor, and from which the self-induced osmotic velocity is determined. For slow reactions, the self-propulsion is proportional to the reaction velocity. When surface reaction dominates over diffusion the osmotic velocity cannot exceed the diffusive speed of the bath particles. Implications of these features for different bath particle volume fractions and motor sizes are discussed. Theoretical predictions are compared with Brownian dynamics simulations.
Phys. Rev. Lett. 100 158303 (2008)


U. M. Córdova-Figueroa and J. F. Brady