Effect of the interaction strength and anisotropy on the diffusio-phoresis of spherical colloids†
Gradients in temperature, concentration or electrostatic potential cannot exert forces on a bulk fluid; they can, however, exert forces on a fluid in a microscopic boundary layer surrounding a (nano)colloidal solute, resulting in so-called phoretic flow. Here we present a simulation study of phoretic flow around a spherical colloid held fixed in a concentration gradient. We show that the resulting flow velocity depends non-monotonically on the strength of the colloid–fluid interaction. The reason for this non-monotonic dependence is that solute particles are effectively trapped in a shell around the colloid and cannot contribute to diffusio-phoresis. We also observe that the flow depends sensitively on the anisotropy of solute–colloid interaction.