New electric-field-driven mesoscale phase transitions in polarized suspensions

Phys Rev Lett. 2005 Dec 16;95(25):258301. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.95.258301. Epub 2005 Dec 15.


We report the discovery of a new class of an electric field-driven bulk phase transition due solely to dipolar interactions in a suspension under the action of a uniform ac field where the effects of other competing forces are suppressed. This transition appears after the well-known chain-column formation and causes the uniform suspension of columns to rearrange into a cellular pattern consisting of particle-free domains surrounded by particle-rich walls. Interestingly, the characteristic size of these domains scales linearly with the interelectrode spacing and remains insensitive to the size of the particles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Colloids / chemistry*
  • Colloids / radiation effects*
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Motion
  • Particle Size
  • Phase Transition / radiation effects


  • Colloids