Motion and trapping of micro- and millimeter-sized particles on the air–paramagnetic-liquid interface

Zoran Cenev, Alois Wurger, Quan Zhou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
85 Downloads (Pure)


Understanding the motion of particles on an air-liquid interface can impact a wide range of scientific fields and applications. Diamagnetic particles floating on an air–paramagnetic-liquid interface are previously known to have a repulsive motion from a magnet. Here, we show a motion mechanism where the diamagnetic particles floating on the air–paramagnetic-liquid interface are attracted and eventually trapped at an off-center distance from the magnet. The behavior of magnetic particles has been also studied and the motion mechanisms are theorized in a unified framework, revealing that the motion of particles on an air–paramagnetic-liquid interface is governed not only by magnetic energy, but as an interplay of the curvature of the interface deformation created by the nonuniform magnetic field, the gravitational potential, and the magnetic energy from the particle and the liquid. The attractive motion mechanism has been applied in directed self-assembly and robotic particle guiding.
Original languageEnglish
Article number010601
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Surface and interfacial phenomena
  • Gas-liquid interface
  • magnetic interactions
  • capillarity


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