A thermodynamic gauge for mobile counter-ions from colloids and nanoparticles
A thermodynamic equilibrium sensor is proposed that measures the ratio of the number of elementary charges z to the mass m of charged solutes such as charged colloids and nanoparticles. The sensor comprises a small, membrane-encapsulated salt solution volume that absorbs neutral salt molecules in response to the release of mobile counter-ions by charge carriers in the surrounding suspension. The sensor state emerges as a limiting case of the equilibrium salt imbalance, and the ensuing osmotic pressure difference, between arbitrary salt and suspension volumes. A weight concentration of charge carriers c is predicted to significantly increase the sensor's salt number density from its initial value ρs,0 to ρRs, according to the relation (ρRs/ρs,0)2 − 1 = zc/mρs,0, under the assumption that the mobile ions involved in the thermodynamic sensor-suspension equilibrium are ideal and homogeneously distributed.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Nanoparticle Synthesis and Assembly