Laning, thinning and thickening of sheared colloids in a two-dimensional Taylor–Couette geometry†
We investigate the dynamics and rheological properties of a circular colloidal cluster that is continuously sheared by magnetic and optical torques in a two-dimensional (2D) Taylor–Couette geometry. By varying the two driving fields, we obtain the system flow diagram and report the velocity profiles along the colloidal structure. We then use the inner magnetic trimer as a microrheometer, and observe continuous thinning of all particle layers followed by thickening of the third one above a threshold field. Experimental data are supported by Brownian dynamics simulations. Our approach gives a unique microscopic view on how the structure of strongly confined colloidal matter weakens or strengthens upon shear, envisioning the engineering of rheological devices at the microscales.