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Issue 20, 2016
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Dynamic self-assembly of microscale rotors and swimmers

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Biological systems often involve the self-assembly of basic components into complex and functioning structures. Artificial systems that mimic such processes can provide a well-controlled setting to explore the principles involved and also synthesize useful micromachines. Our experiments show that immotile, but active, components self-assemble into two types of structure that exhibit the fundamental forms of motility: translation and rotation. Specifically, micron-scale metallic rods are designed to induce extensile surface flows in the presence of a chemical fuel; these rods interact with each other and pair up to form either a swimmer or a rotor. Such pairs can transition reversibly between these two configurations, leading to kinetics reminiscent of bacterial run-and-tumble motion.

Graphical abstract: Dynamic self-assembly of microscale rotors and swimmers

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The article was received on 28 Dec 2015, accepted on 15 Apr 2016 and first published on 20 Apr 2016

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5SM03127C
Soft Matter, 2016,12, 4584-4589

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    Dynamic self-assembly of microscale rotors and swimmers

    M. S. Davies Wykes, J. Palacci, T. Adachi, L. Ristroph, X. Zhong, M. D. Ward, J. Zhang and M. J. Shelley, Soft Matter, 2016, 12, 4584
    DOI: 10.1039/C5SM03127C

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