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Issue 23, 2019
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Assembly structures and dynamics of active colloidal cells

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Abstract

Many types of active matter are deformable, such as epithelial cells and bacteria. To mimic the feature of deformability, we built a model called an active colloidal cell (ACC), i.e. a vesicle enclosed with self-propelled particles (SPPs), which as a whole can move actively. Based on the model, we then study the role of deformability in the assembly structures and dynamics of ACCs by Langevin dynamics simulation. We find that deformability weakens the self-trapping effect and hence suppresses the clustering and phase separation of the deformable soft ACCs (sACCs). Instead of forming a large compact cluster like ordinary SPPs, sACCs pack into a loose network or porous structure in the phase-separation region. The condensed phase is liquid-like, in which sACCs are strongly compressed and deformed but still keep high motility. The interface between the gas and the condensed phases is blurry and unstable, and the effective interfacial energy is very low. Our work gives new insights into the role of deformability in the assembly of active matter and also provides a reference for further studies on different types of deformable active matter.

Graphical abstract: Assembly structures and dynamics of active colloidal cells

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Article information


Submitted
27 Mar 2019
Accepted
14 May 2019
First published
15 May 2019

Soft Matter, 2019,15, 4761-4770
Article type
Paper

Assembly structures and dynamics of active colloidal cells

W. Shan, F. Zhang, W. Tian and K. Chen, Soft Matter, 2019, 15, 4761
DOI: 10.1039/C9SM00619B

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