We have directly observed short-time stress propagation in viscoelastic fluids using two optically trapped particles and a fast interferometric particle-tracking technique. We have done this both by recording correlations in the thermal motion of the particles and by measuring the response of one particle to the actively oscillated second particle. Both methods detect the vortexlike flow patterns associated with stress propagation in fluids. This inertial vortex flow propagates diffusively for simple liquids, while for viscoelastic solutions the pattern spreads superdiffusively, depending on the shear modulus of the medium.

Phys. Rev. E
Biological Soft Matter-Former Group

Atakhorrami, M., Mizuno, D., Koenderink, G., Liverpool, T. B., MacKintosh, F., & Schmidt, C. F. (2008). Short-time inertial response of viscoelastic fluids measured with Brownian motion and with active probes. Phys. Rev. E, 77(6, Article number: 61508), 1–13. doi:10.1103/physreve.77.061508