Liquid-crystal electrolytes enable nonlinear electrophoresis of colloidal particles with velocities proportional to the square of the applied field. We demonstrate that the magnitude and even the polarity of electrophoretic mobility can be controlled by the anisotropic electric conductivity and dielectric permittivity of the liquid crystal. In particular, the reversal of electrophoretic mobility can be triggered either by temperature or composition changes that alter the signs of the conductivity and permittivity anisotropies. Controllable reversal of mobility adds to the list of advantages of anisotropic electrolytes over their isotropic counterparts.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The work is supported by National Science Foundation Grants No. DMS-1434185 (experiments on electrokinetics), No. DMS-1435372 and the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (numerical simulations), as well as Grant No. DMR-1410378 (determination of material parameters).