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Eur Phys J E Soft Matter. 2006 Jan;19(1):59-67. Epub 2006 Jan 31.

The "macromolecular tourist": universal temperature dependence of thermal diffusion in aqueous colloidal suspensions.

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  • 1Politecnico di Milano, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Nucleare, via Ponzio 34/3, 20133, Milano, Italy.


By performing measurements on a large class of macromolecular and colloidal systems, we show that thermophoresis (particle drift induced by thermal gradients) in aqueous solvents displays a distinctive universal dependence on temperature. For systems of particles interacting via temperature-independent forces, this behavior is strictly related to the solvent thermal expansivity, while an additional, T-independent term is needed to account for the behavior of "thermophilic" (migrating to the warmth) particles. The former relation between thermophoresis and thermal expansion may be exploited to envisage other fruitful studies of colloidal diffusion in inhomogeneous fluids.

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