"Novel Physics of Water and Nanoparticles at Interfaces"
This event is part of the Biophysics/Condensed Matter Seminar Series.
Abstract: Thermal gradients and electromagnetic fields are responsible for a wide range of non-equilibrium effects, which can be exploited to design energy conversion devices (thermoelectrics) or to manipulate nanoparticles and induce the assembly of unusual structures. I will discuss recent work performed in our lab that focuses on the investigation of the non-equilibrium response of water under thermal gradients, and nanoparticles adsorbed at fluid interfaces under the influence of magnetic fields. The combination of non-equilibrium thermodynamics theory and computer simulations provides a route to uncover novel physical effects, such as the thermal orientation of water, whereby the molecules are polarized by the thermal gradient inducing an electrostatic field that can be significant at nanometer scales, where large thermal gradients, 10^8 K/m can be readily achieved. Similarly, the application of magnetic fields on ellipsoidal nanoparticles adsorbed at fluid interfaces induces first order orientational transitions and novel two dimensional structures. These physical effects may offer new approaches to develop energy conversion devices and sensors.