Ethan Thai ’21


Electrical Engineering

Project Title

Electrokinetics for Separation of Particles and Potential Water Purification

Presentation Link

View Ethan's Presentation

I worked in the Complex Fluids Group on a project to purify water by using the spontaneous motion, or diffusiophoresis, of water molecules caused by dissolving gas. Being driven by the dissolution of CO2, this filtration method has the potential to provide clean water while requiring little energy input and utilizing a commonly available resource. I performed experiments analyzing the diffusiophoretic effect on the positively charged particle amine-modified polystyrene. I participated in every aspect of this project, from fabricating the microfluidic channels the experiments were performed in, to implementing and expanding the data-collection procedures. I learned techniques in soft lithography, microscopy and even programmable methods of data analysis. This experience gave me insight into the many facets of research and a glimpse into graduate school life, whether it be nifty laboratory techniques or a new understanding of translating data into qualitative and quantitative conclusions.

Internship Year


Project Category

Water and Health


Complex Fluids Group, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University- Princeton, New Jersey


Howard Stone, Donald R. Dixon ’69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Suin Shim, Postdoctoral Research Associate and Lecturer, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering