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Issue 29, 2017
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Geometry-driven collective ordering of bacterial vortices

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Controlling the phases of matter is a challenge that spans from condensed materials to biological systems. Here, by imposing a geometric boundary condition, we study the controlled collective motion of Escherichia coli bacteria. A circular microwell isolates a rectified vortex from disordered vortices masked in the bulk. For a doublet of microwells, two vortices emerge but their spinning directions show transition from parallel to anti-parallel. A Vicsek-like model for confined self-propelled particles gives the point where the two spinning patterns occur in equal probability and one geometric quantity governs the transition as seen in experiments. This mechanism shapes rich patterns including chiral configurations in a quadruplet of microwells, thus revealing a design principle of active vortices.

Graphical abstract: Geometry-driven collective ordering of bacterial vortices

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The article was received on 19 May 2017, accepted on 01 Jul 2017 and first published on 03 Jul 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM00999B
Soft Matter, 2017,13, 5038-5043

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    Geometry-driven collective ordering of bacterial vortices

    K. Beppu, Z. Izri, J. Gohya, K. Eto, M. Ichikawa and Y. T. Maeda, Soft Matter, 2017, 13, 5038
    DOI: 10.1039/C7SM00999B

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