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Beyond Millikan: The Dynamics of Charging Events on Individual Colloidal Particles

Filip Beunis, Filip Strubbe, Kristiaan Neyts, and Dmitri Petrov
Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 016101 – Published 6 January 2012
Physics logo See Focus story: Millikan’s Experiment Takes the Next Step
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By measuring the stable charge on oil drops in air, Millikan demonstrated the discrete nature of electric charge. We extend his approach to the charge on solid-liquid interfaces, and focus on the dynamics of the discrete fluctuations. Our measurements are accurate and fast enough to observe changes of one elementary charge. Experiments over thousands of seconds yield information about the fast dynamics of electrochemical reactions, relevant for physicochemical and biological systems. As an example, we study (dis)charging processes on colloidal particles in a nonpolar liquid.

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  • Received 26 May 2011


© 2012 American Physical Society


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Millikan’s Experiment Takes the Next Step

Published 6 January 2012

A new technique measures each unit of charge that accumulates on a submerged plastic bead, unprecedented resolution for a liquid-solid interface and an experiment that may benefit a variety of commercial devices and processes.

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Authors & Affiliations

Filip Beunis1,2,3, Filip Strubbe1,2, Kristiaan Neyts1,2, and Dmitri Petrov3,4

  • 1Ghent University–Electronics and Information Systems, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 41, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
  • 2Center for Nano and Biophotonics (NB-Photonics), Ghent University, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 41, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
  • 3ICFO–Institut de Ciencies Fotoniques, Mediterranean Technology Park, 08860 Castelldefels (Barcelona), Spain
  • 4ICREA–Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats, 08010 Barcelona, Spain

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Vol. 108, Iss. 1 — 6 January 2012

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