Emergence of Ring-Shaped Microstructures in Restricted Geometries Containing Self-Propelled, Catalytic Janus Spheres

Jose Ángel Pariente, Álvaro Blanco, Cefe López, John G. Gibbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The evaporation of liquid droplets containing colloids is an omnipresent natural phenomenon that has received much attention due to the fundamental effects it entails, as well as the multitudes of fields in which it can be applied. The deposition of particulates onto a solid surface during evaporation tends to form ring-like stains, which are a hallmark of the “coffee-ring effect.” A wide variety of systems has already been employed to suppress or enable this effect, however, little attention has been focused on particles in restricted geometries that are driven far from equilibrium. Here, we investigate how self-propelled, “active” catalytic Janus microspheres affect the ring stains left behind during the drying of a geometrically confined suspension containing such particles. Self-propulsion results indirectly from the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) on the catalytically active hemispherical shell, while the diametrically opposite face is inert; this is how the system is driven out of equilibrium. The magnitude of activity can be controlled by adjusting the volume concentration of aqueous H2O2 within the suspension. This parameter strongly influences the ring-shaped microstructures obtained, especially when the concentration is sufficiently high to produce oxygen bubbles that take over the motion as opposed to auto-phoresis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1125-1130
Number of pages6
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Marangoni flow
  • active colloids
  • bubbles
  • catalytic Janus spheres
  • self-assembly
  • self-propulsion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Materials Chemistry


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