Collective dynamics of self-propelled semiflexible filaments†
The collective behavior of active semiflexible filaments is studied with a model of tangentially driven self-propelled worm-like chains. The combination of excluded-volume interactions and self-propulsion leads to several distinct dynamic phases as a function of bending rigidity, activity, and aspect ratio of individual filaments. We consider first the case of intermediate filament density. For high-aspect-ratio filaments, we identify a transition with increasing propulsion from a state of free-swimming filaments to a state of spiraled filaments with nearly frozen translational motion. For lower aspect ratios, this gas-of-spirals phase is suppressed with growing density due to filament collisions; instead, filaments form clusters similar to self-propelled rods. As activity increases, finite bending rigidity strongly effects the dynamics and phase behavior. Flexible filaments form small and transient clusters, while stiffer filaments organize into giant clusters, similarly to self-propelled rods, but with a reentrant phase behavior from giant to smaller clusters as activity becomes large enough to bend the filaments. For high filament densities, we identify a nearly frozen jamming state at low activities, a nematic laning state at intermediate activities, and an active-turbulence state at high activities. The latter state is characterized by a power-law decay of the energy spectrum as a function of wave number. The resulting phase diagrams encapsulate tunable non-equilibrium steady states that can be used in the organization of living matter.