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Pattern Formation in Catalytic Colloidal Microswimmers

Objective

Self-propelled particles such as bacteria, or 'Janus colloids' partially coated with catalyst, consume energy from their environment and convert it into systematic motion. Interacting ensembles of these particles compose so-called active matter which is intrinsically driven out of thermodynamic equilibrium. This allows for a rich and unusual phenomenology that includes condensation and phase separation in systems with purely repulsive interactions; giant density fluctuations; and various types of self-organized structure formation whose origin lies beyond the equilibrium principle of entropy maximization (free energy minimization). In PFCCMS we propose a novel theoretical study of activity-induced pattern formation with active colloids, addressing the interplay of an anisotropic production of chemicals at the colloidal surfaces and a chemotactic coupling of the particles to the resulting chemical gradients. Careful inclusion of noise within our coarse grained descriptions will enrich the emerging self-organized spatiotemporal structures with phenomena based on nucleation and topological defects. Our findings are expected to inform design principles for activity-induced self-organization of soft materials; we also plan to link them with the physics of gene-surfing and the spatiotemporal organization of bacterial colonies.

Call for proposal

H2020-MSCA-IF-2014
See other projects for this call

Coordinator

THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH
Address
Old College, South Bridge
EH8 9YL Edinburgh
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 183 454,80