Directed Motion of Colloidal Particles in a Galvanic Microreactor
The mechanisms leading to the deposition of colloidal particles in a copper-gold galvanic microreactor are investigated. Using in situ current density measurements and particle velocimetry, we establish correlations between the spatial arrangement and the geometry of the electrodes, current density distribution, and particle aggregation behavior. Ionic transport phenomena are responsible for the occurrence of strongly localized high current density at the edges and corners of the copper electrodes at large electrode separation, leading to a preferential aggregation of colloidal particles at the electrode edges. Preferential aggregation appears to be the result of a combination of electrophoretic effects and changes in bulk electrolyte flow patterns. We demonstrate that electrolyte flow is most likely driven by electrochemical potential gradients of reaction products formed during the inhomogeneous copper dissolution.