Active matter invasion†
Biologically active materials such as bacterial biofilms and eukaryotic cells thrive in confined micro-spaces. Here, we show through numerical simulations that confinement can serve as a mechanical guidance to achieve distinct modes of collective invasion when combined with growth dynamics and the intrinsic activity of biological materials. We assess the dynamics of the growing interface and classify these collective modes of invasion based on the activity of the constituent particles of the growing matter. While at small and moderate activities the active material grows as a coherent unit, we find that blobs of active material collectively detach from the cohort above a well-defined activity threshold. We further characterise the mechanical mechanisms underlying the crossovers between different modes of invasion and quantify their impact on the overall invasion speed.