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Issue 18, 2018
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Reconfigurable paramagnetic microswimmers: Brownian motion affects non-reciprocal actuation

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Abstract

Swimming at low Reynolds number is typically dominated by a large viscous drag, therefore microscale swimmers require non-reciprocal body deformation to generate locomotion. Purcell described a simple mechanical swimmer at the microscale consisting of three rigid components connected together with two hinges. Here we present a simple microswimmer consisting of two rigid paramagnetic particles with different sizes. When placed in an eccentric magnetic field, this simple microswimmer exhibits non-reciprocal body motion and its swimming locomotion can be directed in a controllable manner. Additional components can be added to create a multibody microswimmer, whereby the particles act cooperatively and translate in a given direction. For some multibody swimmers, the stochastic thermal forces fragment the arm, which therefore modifies the swimming strokes and changes the locomotive speed. This work offers insight into directing the motion of active systems with novel time-varying magnetic fields. It also reveals that Brownian motion not only affects the locomotion of reciprocal swimmers that are subject to the Scallop theorem, but also affects that of non-reciprocal swimmers.

Graphical abstract: Reconfigurable paramagnetic microswimmers: Brownian motion affects non-reciprocal actuation

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Article information


Submitted
09 Jan 2018
Accepted
06 Mar 2018
First published
15 Mar 2018

Soft Matter, 2018,14, 3463-3470
Article type
Paper
Author version available

Reconfigurable paramagnetic microswimmers: Brownian motion affects non-reciprocal actuation

D. Du, E. Hilou and S. L. Biswal, Soft Matter, 2018, 14, 3463
DOI: 10.1039/C8SM00069G

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