Switching of charged inverse micelles in non-polar liquids.

Research paper by Manoj M Prasad, Filip F Beunis, Kristiaan K Neyts, Filip F Strubbe

Indexed on: 24 Jul '15Published on: 24 Jul '15Published in: Journal of Colloid and Interface Science


The electrodynamics of micellar ions in nonpolar liquids are well understood for the case that a voltage is applied or switched off. In this work, the electrodynamics of charged inverse micelles (CIMs) are studied when the applied voltage is switched to the opposite polarity, which is relevant for applications such as electrophoretic displays and liquid toner printing. Transient current measurements are used to characterize the switching of CIMs formed in a solution of surfactant polyisobutylene succinimide in n-dodecane. For reverse voltages with amplitude below 10V the measurements are in good agreement with a drift and diffusion model, confirming the established understanding of CIMs in nonpolar liquids. When the charge content is high, the reversal current shows a characteristic peak which is explained on the basis of dynamic space-charge effects. However, for reverse voltages larger than 10V, the transient currents are influenced by electrohydrodynamic flow in the liquid causing the CIMs to switch faster than predicted by the model. The occurrence of electrohydrodynamic flow is verified by optical tracking of tracer particles. Also, when the polarizing voltage is applied for longer times, an additional current peak emerges which is due to the accumulation of newly generated charges at the electrodes.