Entropic Electrokinetics: Recirculation, Particle Separation, and Negative Mobility

We show that when particles are suspended in an electrolyte confined between corrugated charged surfaces, electrokinetic flows lead to a new set of phenomena such as particle separation, mixing for low-Reynolds micro- and nanometric devices, and negative mobility. Our analysis shows that such phenomena arise, for incompressible fluids, due to the interplay between the electrostatic double layer and the corrugated geometrical confinement and that they are magnified when the width of the channel is comparable to the Debye length. Our characterization allows us to understand the physical origin of such phenomena, therefore, shedding light on their possible relevance in a wide variety of situations ranging from nano- and microfluidic devices to biological systems.