Broadband boundary effects on Brownian motion

Mo, Jianyong
Simha, Akarsh
Raizen, Mark G.
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Brownian motion of particles in confined fluids is important for many applications, yet the effects of the boundary over a wide range of time scales are still not well understood. We report high-bandwidth, comprehensive measurements of Brownian motion of an optically trapped micrometer-sized silica sphere in water near an approximately flat wall. At short distances we observe anisotropic Brownian motion with respect to the wall. We find that surface confinement not only occurs in the long time scale diffusive regime but also in the short time scale ballistic regime, and the velocity autocorrelation function of the Brownian particle decays faster than that of a particle in bulk fluid. Furthermore, at low frequencies the thermal force loses its color due to the reflected flow from the no-slip boundary. The power spectrum of the thermal force on the particle near a no-slip boundary becomes flat at low frequencies. This detailed understanding of boundary effects on Brownian motion opens a door to developing a 3D microscope using particles as remote sensors.

Mo, Jianyong, Akarsh Simha, and Mark G. Raizen. "Broadband boundary effects on Brownian motion." Physical Review E 92, no. 6 (2015): 062106.