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      Vibrated polar disks: spontaneous motion, binary collisions, and collective dynamics

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          Abstract

          We study the spontaneous motion, binary collisions, and collective dynamics of "polar disks", i.e. purpose-built particles which, when vibrated between two horizontal plates, move coherently along a direction strongly correlated to their intrinsic polarity. The motion of our particles, although nominally three-dimensional and complicated, is well accounted for by a two-dimensional persistent random walk. Their binary collisions are spatiotemporally extended events during which multiple actual collisions happen, yielding a weak average effective alignment. We show that this well-controlled, "dry active matter" system can display collective motion with orientationally-ordered regions of the order of the system size. We provide evidence of strong number density in the most ordered regimes observed. These results are discussed in the light of the limitations of our system, notably those due to the inevitable presence of walls.

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          Most cited references 10

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          Catalytic nanomotors: autonomous movement of striped nanorods.

          Rod-shaped particles, 370 nm in diameter and consisting of 1 microm long Pt and Au segments, move autonomously in aqueous hydrogen peroxide solutions by catalyzing the formation of oxygen at the Pt end. In 2-3% hydrogen peroxide solution, these rods move predominantly along their axis in the direction of the Pt end at speeds of up to 10 body lengths per second. The dimensions of the rods and their speeds are similar to those of multiflagellar bacteria. The force along the rod axis, which is on the order of 10(-14) N, is generated by the oxygen concentration gradient, which in turn produces an interfacial tension force that balances the drag force at steady state. By solving the convection-diffusion equation in the frame of the moving rod, it was found that the interfacial tension force scales approximately as SR(2)gamma/muDL, where S is the area-normalized oxygen evolution rate, gamma is the liquid-vapor interfacial tension, R is the rod radius, mu is the viscosity, D is the diffusion coefficient of oxygen, and L is the length of the rod. Experiments in ethanol-water solutions confirmed that the velocity depends linearly with the product Sgamma, and scaling experiments showed a strong dependence of the velocity on R and L. The direction of motion implies that the gold surface is hydrophobic under the conditions of the experiment. Tapping-mode AFM images of rods in air-saturated water show soft features that are not apparent in images acquired in air. These features are postulated to be nanobubbles, which if present in hydrogen peroxide solutions, would account for the observed direction of motion.
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            Self-motile colloidal particles: from directed propulsion to random walk

            The motion of an artificial micro-scale swimmer that uses a chemical reaction catalyzed on its own surface to achieve autonomous propulsion is fully characterized experimentally. It is shown that at short times, it has a substantial component of directed motion, with a velocity that depends on the concentration of fuel molecules. At longer times, the motion reverts to a random walk with a substantially enhanced diffusion coefficient. Our results suggest strategies for designing artificial chemotactic systems.
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              Polar patterns of driven filaments.

              The emergence of collective motion exhibited by systems ranging from flocks of animals to self-propelled microorganisms to the cytoskeleton is a ubiquitous and fascinating self-organization phenomenon. Similarities between these systems, such as the inherent polarity of the constituents, a density-dependent transition to ordered phases or the existence of very large density fluctuations, suggest universal principles underlying pattern formation. This idea is followed by theoretical models at all levels of description: micro- or mesoscopic models directly map local forces and interactions using only a few, preferably simple, interaction rules, and more macroscopic approaches in the hydrodynamic limit rely on the systems' generic symmetries. All these models characteristically have a broad parameter space with a manifold of possible patterns, most of which have not yet been experimentally verified. The complexity of interactions and the limited parameter control of existing experimental systems are major obstacles to our understanding of the underlying ordering principles. Here we demonstrate the emergence of collective motion in a high-density motility assay that consists of highly concentrated actin filaments propelled by immobilized molecular motors in a planar geometry. Above a critical density, the filaments self-organize to form coherently moving structures with persistent density modulations, such as clusters, swirls and interconnected bands. These polar nematic structures are long lived and can span length scales orders of magnitudes larger than their constituents. Our experimental approach, which offers control of all relevant system parameters, complemented by agent-based simulations, allows backtracking of the assembly and disassembly pathways to the underlying local interactions. We identify weak and local alignment interactions to be essential for the observed formation of patterns and their dynamics. The presented minimal polar-pattern-forming system may thus provide new insight into emerging order in the broad class of active fluids and self-propelled particles.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                2012-01-29
                1201.6021

                http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

                Custom metadata
                Soft Matter, 2012,8, 5629-5639
                13 pages, 10 figures, 4 movies
                cond-mat.soft

                Condensed matter

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