Issue 1, 2016

Swimming in a crystal


We study catalytic Janus particles and Escherichia coli bacteria swimming in a two-dimensional colloidal crystal. The Janus particles orbit individual colloids and hop between colloids stochastically, with a hopping rate that varies inversely with fuel (hydrogen peroxide) concentration. At high fuel concentration, these orbits are stable for 100s of revolutions, and the orbital speed oscillates periodically as a result of hydrodynamic, and possibly also phoretic, interactions between the swimmer and the six neighbouring colloids. Motile E. coli bacteria behave very differently in the same colloidal crystal: their circular orbits on plain glass are rectified into long, straight runs, because the bacteria are unable to turn corners inside the crystal.

Graphical abstract: Swimming in a crystal

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Article information

Article type
23 Jul 2015
24 Sep 2015
First published
25 Sep 2015
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Soft Matter, 2016,12, 131-140

Author version available

Swimming in a crystal

A. T. Brown, I. D. Vladescu, A. Dawson, T. Vissers, J. Schwarz-Linek, J. S. Lintuvuori and W. C. K. Poon, Soft Matter, 2016, 12, 131 DOI: 10.1039/C5SM01831E

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