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On the Complex and Reversible Pathways of CdSe Quantum Dots Driven by Pyroelectric-Dielectrophoresis

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posted on 10.01.2018, 00:00 by Giuseppe Nasti, Sara Coppola, Federico Olivieri, Veronica Vespini, Vito Pagliarulo, Pietro Ferraro
Electrophoresis (EP) and dielectrophoresis (DEP) are the two well-established methodologies to manipulate nanoparticles (NPs). Recently, DEP by a virtual electrode platform was demonstrated on ferroelectric substrates, where the driving force is due to the strong electric field generated by the pyroelectric effect, thus opening new scenarios for manipulating the matter. Such an innovative approach named pyroelectric-DEP has several advantages over traditional EP and DEP. However, a detailed study on this novel approach is required for understanding the complex pathways traced by NPs under the action of the pyroelectric-driven forces and thus for explaining the final patterns. Here, we investigate experimentally the dynamic behavior of CdSe NPs through time-lapse fluorescence microscopy imaging. Complete visualization and measurement of the directed-assembling process of NPs immersed in polydimethylsiloxane fluid is reported, which shows some unpredicted results with respect to the previous works, thus opening the route for designing in principle a reversible and switchable device allowing two different and reversible final NP-patterned states. The observed phenomena are fully analyzed by experimental and simulated analysis, and the movements of NPs is performed to elucidate in depth the involved processes. The investigation furnishes an interesting result that the complex behavior of the NPs can be fully comprehended and explained by considering the superposition of both EP and DEP forces.