Motility versus fluctuations in mixtures of self-motile and passive agents†
Many biological systems consist of self-motile and passive agents both of which contribute to overall functionality. However, little is known about the properties of such mixtures. Here we formulate a model for mixtures of self-motile and passive agents and show that the model gives rise to three different dynamical phases: a disordered mesoturbulent phase, a polar flocking phase, and a vortical phase characterized by large-scale counter rotating vortices. We use numerical simulations to construct a phase diagram and compare the statistical properties of the different phases with observed features of self-motile bacterial suspensions. Our findings afford specific insights regarding the interaction of microorganisms and passive particles and provide novel strategic guidance for efficient technological realizations of artificial active matter.