We report the development of glucose oxidase pumps characterized by small lateral dimensions (≈200
m). We studied the effects of the activity of the enzyme pump on silica particles (“tracers”) sedimented around the enzyme pump/patch. Once the activity of the pump was turned on (i.e., the glucose substrate was added to the solution), in-plane motion of the tracers away
from the enzyme patch, as well as the emergence of an in-plane region around the patch which was depleted by tracers, was observed. The lateral extent of this depletion zone increased in time at a rate dependent both on the glucose concentration and on the areal density of the enzyme in the patch. We argue that, when the tracers were very near the wall, their motion and the emergence of the depletion zone were most likely the result of diffusiophoresis and drag by osmotic flows induced at the wall, rather than that of drag by a solutal buoyancy driven convective flow. We infer that, for the glucose oxidase enzymatic pumps, bulk (solutal buoyancy), as previously reported, as well as surface (osmotic) driven flows coexist and have to be explicitly accounted for. It seems plausible to assume that this is the case in general for enzyme pumps, and these complementary effects should be considered in the design of applications, e.g., stirring or sensing inside microfluidic systems, based on such pumps.
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