We report a free-surface electrohydrodynamic flow phenomenon driven by an ionic wind mechanism induced by a high frequency gas-phase ac field (>10kHz). Intense vortices >1cms are generated above a critical voltage, beyond which the vortices break down to spawn off new vortex pairs leading to a cascade of vortices over a continuum of length scales; the mixing efficiency approaches a turbulent-like state. Colloidal particles are attracted and aggregated into planar crystal structures within the vortices by a combination of dielectrophoresis and shear-induced diffusion.

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