AC electrohydrodynamic Landau-Squire flows around a conducting nanotip

Jyun An Chen, Touvia Miloh, Watchareeya Kaveevivitchai, Hsien Hung Wei*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Utilizing the joint singular natures of electric field and hydrodynamic flow around a sharp nanotip, we report new electrohydrodynamic Landau-Squire-type flows under the actions of alternating current (AC) electric fields, markedly different from the classical Landau-Squire flow generated by pump discharge using nanotubes or nanopores. Making use of the locally diverging electric field prevailing near the conical tip, we are able to generate a diversity of AC electrohydrodynamic flows with the signature of a 1/r point-force-like decay at distance r from the tip. Specifically, we find AC electrothermal jet and Faradaic streaming out of the tip at applied frequencies in the MHz and 10Hz regimes, respectively. Yet at intermediate frequencies of 1-100 kHz, the jet flow can be reversed to an AC electro-osmotic impinging flow. The characteristics of these AC jet flows are very distinct from AC flows over planar electrodes. For the AC electrothermal jet, we observe experimentally that its speed varies with the driving voltage V as V3, in contrast to the common Vdependence according to the classical theory reported by Ramos et al. (J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys, vol. 31, 1998, pp. 2338-2353). Additionally, the flow speed does not increase with the solution conductivity as commonly thought. These experimental findings can be rationalized by means of local Joule heating and double layer charging mechanisms in such a way that the nanotip actually becomes a local hotspot charged with heated tangential currents. The measured speed of the AC Faradaic streaming is found to vary as V3/2 logV, which can be interpreted by the local Faradaic leakage in balance with tangential conduction. These unusual flow characteristics signify that a conical electrode geometry may fundamentally alter the features of AC electrohydrodynamic flows. Such peculiar electrohydrodynamic flows may also provide new avenues for expediting molecular sensing or sample transport in prevalent electrochemical or microfluidic applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA6
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - 2021


FundersFunder number
Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan107-2221-E-006-109-MY3, 110-2221-E-006-021-MY3


    • electrokinetic flows


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