Self-propagation of an electrode in leaky dielectrics and its possible relation to bacterial flagellar motors

Alexander Yarin

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2 Citations (Scopus)


In this letter, the origin of a force resulting in steady-state propagation of a spherical electrode in a leaky dielectric is explained and the force is calculated. The phenomenon of self-propagation begins from a perturbation in any direction resulting in the electrode motion in that direction. After that, the process sustains itself and a macroscopic electrode moves in the direction of the initial perturbation with a constant velocity U proportional to the potential difference ΔV applied to the system. Microscopic electrodes and bacterial flagellar motors should move with a velocity U∼ (ΔV)2. The predicted velocities agree fairly well with the experimental data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number024103
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Jan 22
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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