Suspensions with Controlled Interaction Rules ASCIR

Institutions
  • WG Bechinger (Experimentalphysik mit SP Weiche kondensierte Materie)
Publications
    Knippenberg, Timo; Lüders, Anton; Lozano, Celia; Nielaba, Peter; Bechinger, Clemens (2022): Role of cohesion in the flow of active particles through bottlenecks Scientific Reports. Springer Nature. 2022, 12(1), 11525. eISSN 2045-2322. Available under: doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-15577-w

Role of cohesion in the flow of active particles through bottlenecks

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We experimentally and numerically study the flow of programmable active particles (APs) with tunable cohesion strength through geometric constrictions. Similar to purely repulsive granular systems, we observe an exponential distribution of burst sizes and power-law-distributed clogging durations. Upon increasing cohesion between APs, we find a rather abrupt transition from an arch-dominated clogging regime to a cohesion-dominated regime where droplets form at the aperture of the bottleneck. In the arch-dominated regime the flow-rate only weakly depends on the cohesion strength. This suggests that cohesion must not necessarily decrease the group’s efficiency passing through geometric constrictions or pores. Such behavior is explained by “slippery” particle bonds which avoids the formation of a rigid particle network and thus prevents clogging. Overall, our results confirm the general applicability of the statistical framework of intermittent flow through bottlenecks developed for granular materials also in case of active microswimmers whose behavior is more complex than that of Brownian particles but which mimic the behavior of living systems.

Origin (projects)

    Volpe, Giorgio; Bechinger, Clemens; Cichos, Frank; Golestanian, Ramin; Löwen, Hartmut; Sperl, Matthias; Volpe, Giovanni (2022): Active matter in space NPJ Microgravity. Nature Publishing Group. 2022, 8(1), 54. eISSN 2373-8065. Available under: doi: 10.1038/s41526-022-00230-7

Active matter in space

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In the last 20 years, active matter has been a highly dynamic field of research, bridging fundamental aspects of non-equilibrium thermodynamics with applications to biology, robotics, and nano-medicine. Active matter systems are composed of units that can harvest and harness energy and information from their environment to generate complex collective behaviours and forms of self-organisation. On Earth, gravity-driven phenomena (such as sedimentation and convection) often dominate or conceal the emergence of these dynamics, especially for soft active matter systems where typical interactions are of the order of the thermal energy. In this review, we explore the ongoing and future efforts to study active matter in space, where low-gravity and microgravity conditions can lift some of these limitations. We envision that these studies will help unify our understanding of active matter systems and, more generally, of far-from-equilibrium physics both on Earth and in space. Furthermore, they will also provide guidance on how to use, process and manufacture active materials for space exploration and colonisation.

Origin (projects)

    Narinder, Narinder; Bos, Meike F.; Abaurrea-Velasco, Clara; de Graaf, Joost; Bechinger, Clemens (2022): Understanding enhanced rotational dynamics of active probes in rod suspensions Soft Matter. Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). 2022, 18(33), pp. 6246-6253. ISSN 1744-683X. eISSN 1744-6848. Available under: doi: 10.1039/d2sm00583b

Understanding enhanced rotational dynamics of active probes in rod suspensions

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Active Brownian particles (APs) have recently been shown to exhibit enhanced rotational diffusion (ERD) in complex fluids. Here, we experimentally observe ERD and numerically corroborate its microscopic origin for a quasi-two-dimensional suspension of colloidal rods. At high density, the rods form small rafts, wherein they perform small-amplitude, high-frequency longitudinal displacements. Activity couples AP-rod contacts to reorientation, with the variance therein leading to ERD. This is captured by a local, rather than a global relaxation time, as used in previous phenomenological modeling. Our result should prove relevant to the microrheological characterization of complex fluids and furthering our understanding of the dynamics of microorganisms in such media.

Origin (projects)

    Paul, Shuvojit; Jayaram, Ashreya; Narinder, Narinder; Speck, Thomas; Bechinger, Clemens (2022): Force Generation in Confined Active Fluids : The Role of Microstructure Physical Review Letters. American Physical Society (APS). 2022, 129(5), 058001. ISSN 0031-9007. eISSN 1079-7114. Available under: doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.129.058001

Force Generation in Confined Active Fluids : The Role of Microstructure

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We experimentally determine the force exerted by a bath of active particles onto a passive probe as a function of its distance to a wall and compare it to the measured averaged density distribution of active particles around the probe. Within the framework of an active stress, we demonstrate that both quantities are-up to a factor-directly related to each other. Our results are in excellent agreement with a minimal numerical model and confirm a general and system-independent relationship between the microstructure of active particles and transmitted forces.

Origin (projects)

    Jahanshahi, Soudeh; Lozano, Celia; ten Hagen, Borge; Bechinger, Clemens; Löwen, Hartmut (2019): Colloidal Brazil nut effect in microswimmer mixtures induced by motility contrast The Journal of Chemical Physics. 2019, 150(11), 114902. ISSN 0021-9606. eISSN 1089-7690. Available under: doi: 10.1063/1.5083098

Colloidal Brazil nut effect in microswimmer mixtures induced by motility contrast

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We numerically and experimentally study the segregation dynamics in a binary mixture of microswimmers which move on a two-dimensional substrate in a static periodic triangular-like light intensity field. The motility of the active particles is proportional to the imposed light intensity, and they possess a motility contrast, i.e., the prefactor depends on the species. In addition, the active particles also experience a torque aligning their motion towards the direction of the negative intensity gradient. We find a segregation of active particles near the intensity minima where typically one species is localized close to the minimum and the other one is centered around in an outer shell. For a very strong aligning torque, there is an exact mapping onto an equilibrium system in an effective external potential that is minimal at the intensity minima. This external potential is similar to (height-dependent) gravity such that one can define effective “heaviness” of the self-propelled particles. In analogy to shaken granular matter in gravity, we define a “colloidal Brazil nut effect” if the heavier particles are floating on top of the lighter ones. Using extensive Brownian dynamics simulations, we identify system parameters for the active colloidal Brazil nut effect to occur and explain it based on a generalized Archimedes’ principle within the effective equilibrium model: heavy particles are levitated in a dense fluid of lighter particles if their effective mass density is lower than that of the surrounding fluid. We also perform real-space experiments on light-activated self-propelled colloidal mixtures which confirm the theoretical predictions.

Origin (projects)

    Lozano, Celia; Bechinger, Clemens (2019): Diffusing wave paradox of phototactic particles in traveling light pulses Nature Communications. 2019, 10, 2495. eISSN 2041-1723. Available under: doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-10535-z

Diffusing wave paradox of phototactic particles in traveling light pulses

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Cells navigate through complex surroundings by following cues from their environment. A prominent example is Dictyostelium, which is directed by chemotaxis towards regions with higher concentrations. In the presence of traveling chemical waves, however, amoebae migrate counter to the running wave. Such behavior, referred to as diffusing wave paradox, suggests the existence of adaptation and directional memory. Here we experimentally investigate the response of phototactic self-propelled microparticles to traveling light-pulses. Despite their entirely memory-less (i.e., strictly local) response to the environment, we observe the same phenomenological behavior, i.e., particle motion counter to the pulse direction. Our findings are supported by a minimal model which considers active particle reorientations within local light gradients. The complex and robust behavior of synthetic active particles to spatially and temporally varying stimuli enables new strategies for achieving collective behavior and can be used for the design of micro-robotic systems with limited signal-processing capabilities.

Origin (projects)

    Lavergne, François A.; Wendehenne, Hugo; Bäuerle, Tobias; Bechinger, Clemens (2019): Group formation and cohesion of active particles with visual perception-dependent motility Science. 2019, 364(6435), pp. 70-74. ISSN 0036-8075. eISSN 1095-9203. Available under: doi: 10.1126/science.aau5347

Group formation and cohesion of active particles with visual perception-dependent motility

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Group formation in living systems typically results from a delicate balance of repulsive, aligning, and attractive interactions. We found that a mere motility change of the individuals in response to the visual perception of their peers induces group formation and cohesion. We tested this principle in a real system of active particles whose motilities are controlled by an external feedback loop. For narrow fields of view, individuals gathered into cohesive nonpolarized groups without requiring active reorientations. For wider fields of view, cohesion could be achieved by lowering the response threshold. We expect this motility-induced cohesion mechanism to be relevant not only for the self-organization of living systems, but also for the design of robust and scalable autonomous systems.

Origin (projects)

    Bäuerle, Tobias; Fischer, Andreas; Speck, Thomas; Bechinger, Clemens (2018): Self-organization of active particles by quorum sensing rules Nature Communications. 2018, 9(1), 3232. eISSN 2041-1723. Available under: doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05675-7

Self-organization of active particles by quorum sensing rules

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Many microorganisms regulate their behaviour according to the density of neighbours. Such quorum sensing is important for the communication and organisation within bacterial populations. In contrast to living systems, where quorum sensing is determined by biochemical processes, the behaviour of synthetic active particles can be controlled by external fields. Accordingly they allow to investigate how variations of a density-dependent particle response affect their self-organisation. Here we experimentally and numerically demonstrate this concept using a suspension of light-activated active particles whose motility is individually controlled by an external feedback-loop, realised by a particle detection algorithm and a scanning laser system. Depending on how the particles' motility varies with the density of neighbours, the system self-organises into aggregates with different size, density and shape. Since the individual particles' response to their environment is almost freely programmable, this allows for detailed insights on how communication between motile particles affects their collective properties.

Origin (projects)

    Narinder, Narinder; Bechinger, Clemens; Gomez Solano, Juan Ruben (2018): Memory-induced transition from a persistent random walk to circular motion for achiral microswimmers Physical Review Letters. 2018, 121(7), 078003. ISSN 0031-9007. eISSN 1079-7114. Available under: doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.078003

Memory-induced transition from a persistent random walk to circular motion for achiral microswimmers

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We experimentally study the motion of light-activated colloidal microswimmers in a viscoelastic fluid. We find that, in such a non-Newtonian environment, the active colloids undergo an unexpected transition from enhanced angular diffusion to persistent rotational motion above a critical propulsion speed, despite their spherical shape and stiffness. We observe that, in contrast to chiral asymmetric microswimmers, the resulting circular orbits can spontaneously reverse their sense of rotation and exhibit an angular velocity and a radius of curvature that non-linearly depend on the propulsion speed. By means of a minimal non-Markovian Langevin model for active Brownian motion, we show that these non-equilibrium effects emerge from the delayed response of the fluid with respect to the self-propulsion of the particle without counterpart in Newtonian fluids.

Origin (projects)

    Lozano, Celia; Gomez Solano, Juan Ruben; Bechinger, Clemens (2018): Run-and-Tumble-Like Motion of Active Colloids in Viscoelastic Media New Journal of Physics (NJP). 2018, 20, 015008. eISSN 1367-2630. Available under: doi: 10.1088/1367-2630/aa9ed1

Run-and-Tumble-Like Motion of Active Colloids in Viscoelastic Media

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Run-and-tumble motion is a prominent locomotion strategy employed by many living microorganisms. It is characterized by straight swimming intervals (runs), which are interrupted by sudden reorientation events (tumbles). In contrast, directional changes of synthetic microswimmers (active particles) are caused by rotational diffusion, which is superimposed with their translational motion and thus leads to rather continuous and slow particle reorientations. Here we demonstrate that active particles can also perform a swimming motion where translational and orientational changes are disentangled, similar to run-and-tumble. In our system, such motion is realized by a viscoelastic solvent and a periodic modulation of the self-propulsion velocity. Experimentally, this is achieved using light-activated Janus colloids, which are illuminated by a time-dependent laser field. We observe a strong enhancement of the effective translational and rotational motion when the modulation time is comparable to the relaxation time of the viscoelastic fluid. Our findings are explained by the relaxation of the elastic stress, which builds up during the self-propulsion, and is suddenly released when the activity is turned off. In addition to a better understanding of active motion in viscoelastic surroundings, our results may suggest novel steering strategies for synthetic microswimmers in complex environments.

Origin (projects)

    Berner, Johannes; Müller, Boris; Gomez Solano, Juan Ruben; Krüger, Matthias; Bechinger, Clemens (2018): Oscillating modes of driven colloids in overdamped systems Nature Communications. 2018, 9(1), 999. eISSN 2041-1723. Available under: doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03345-2

Oscillating modes of driven colloids in overdamped systems

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Microscopic colloidal particles suspended in liquids are a prominent example of an overdamped system where viscous forces dominate over inertial effects. Frequently, colloids are used as sensitive probes, e.g., in biophysical applications from which molecular forces are inferred. The interpretation of such experiments rests on the assumption that, even when the particles are driven, the liquid remains in equilibrium. Here we experimentally demonstrate that this is not valid for particles in viscoelastic fluids. Even at small driving forces, we observe particle oscillations with several tens of seconds. They are attributed to non-equilibrium fluctuations of the fluid being excited by the particle’s motion. The oscillatory dynamics is in quantitative agreement with an overdamped Langevin equation with negative friction-memory term being equivalent to a stochastically driven underdamped oscillator. Such oscillatory modes are expected to widen the use of colloids as model systems but must also be considered in colloidal probe experiments.

Origin (projects)

    Gomez Solano, Juan Ruben; Samin, Sela; Lozano, Celia; Ruedas-Batuecas, Pablo; van Roij, René; Bechinger, Clemens (2017): Tuning the motility and directionality of self-propelled colloids Scientific Reports. 2017, 7, 14891. eISSN 2045-2322. Available under: doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-14126-0

Tuning the motility and directionality of self-propelled colloids

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Microorganisms are able to overcome the thermal randomness of their surroundings by harvesting energy to navigate in viscous fluid environments. In a similar manner, synthetic colloidal microswimmers are capable of mimicking complex biolocomotion by means of simple self-propulsion mechanisms. Although experimentally the speed of active particles can be controlled by e.g. self-generated chemical and thermal gradients, an in-situ change of swimming direction remains a challenge. In this work, we study self-propulsion of half-coated spherical colloids in critical binary mixtures and show that the coupling of local body forces, induced by laser illumination, and the wetting properties of the colloid, can be used to finely tune both the colloid’s swimming speed and its directionality. We experimentally and numerically demonstrate that the direction of motion can be reversibly switched by means of the size and shape of the droplet(s) nucleated around the colloid, depending on the particle radius and the fluid’s ambient temperature. Moreover, the aforementioned features enable the possibility to realize both negative and positive phototaxis in light intensity gradients. Our results can be extended to other types of half-coated microswimmers, provided that both of their hemispheres are selectively made active but with distinct physical properties.

Origin (projects)

Funding sources
Name Finanzierungstyp Kategorie Project no.
Europäische Union third-party funds research funding program 669/17
Further information
Period: 01.10.2016 – 30.09.2021