Phoretic motion of colloids in a phase separating medium
The enhanced motion of dispersed particles driven by a concentration gradient is the basis for diffusiophoresis. Here we present the dynamics of colloids in a phase separating medium probed by X-Ray Photon Correlation Spectroscopy (XPCS) in the ultra-small angle scattering range. Charge stabilized silica colloids suspended in a binary mixture of 3-methylpyridine and water/heavy water are preferentially wetted by 3-methylpyridine and consequently display a phoretic motion towards that phase upon demixing. This activity lasts for hundreds of seconds before the phase separation is complete and the enhanced motion is arrested as the colloids return to normal diffusive dynamics.