Charge inversion at high ionic strength studied by streaming currents

Frank H.J. Van Der Heyden*, Derek Stein, Koen Besteman, Serge G. Lemay, Cees Dekker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

241 Citations (Scopus)
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We report charge inversion, the sign reversal of the effective surface charge in the presence of multivalent counterions, for the biologically relevant regimes of divalent ions and mixtures of monovalent and multivalent ions. Using streaming currents, the pressure-driven transport of countercharges in the diffuse layer, we find that charge inversion occurs in rectangular silica nanochannels at high concentrations of divalent ions. Strong monovalent screening is found to cancel charge inversion, restoring the original surface charge polarity. An analytical model based on ion correlations successfully describes our observations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number224502
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


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