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Emergent, Collective Oscillations of Self-Mobile Particles and Patterned Surfaces under Redox Conditions

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posted on 2010-08-24, 00:00 authored by Michael E. Ibele, Paul E. Lammert, Vincent H. Crespi, Ayusman Sen
We have discovered that silver chloride (AgCl) particles in the presence of UV light and dilute hydrogen peroxide exhibit both single-particle and collective oscillations in their motion which arise due to an oscillatory, reversible conversion of AgCl to silver metal at the particle surface. This system exhibits several of the hallmarks of nonlinear oscillatory reactions, including bistability, reaction waves, and synchronized collective oscillations at high particle concentrations. However, unlike traditional oscillatory reactions that take place among dispersed solute species in solution or near a fixed electrode surface, this system of self-mobile catalytic particles evinces a new dynamical length scale: the interparticle spacing, which appears to control wave propagation. The collective motions of these powered nanoparticles self-organize into clumped oscillators with significant spatiotemporal correlations between clumps. A variant of this system using a regular array of lithographically patterned silver disks supports the propagation of binary “On/Off” Ag/AgCl waves through the lattice.

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