Colloidal swimmers near curved and structured walls†
We present systematic numerical simulations to understand the behavior of colloidal swimmers near a wall. We extend previous theoretical calculations based on lubrication theory to include walls with arbitrary curvature, and show how to extract from simulations a set of parameters crucial to accurately estimate the leading hydrodynamic contributions associated with the curvature of a wall. Our results show explicitly how introducing curvature to the wall not only affects the average incident angle the swimmer acquires when swimming near it, but it also leads to much broader angular distributions. This suggests an increasingly leading role of thermal fluctuations with curvature, which in turn results in significantly different motility of the swimmers. We also show how the backwards motion previously reported for pushers also extends to puller-like swimmers under the appropriate conditions. Finally, aiming at understanding the behavior of colloidal swimmers near a colloidal crystal, we also considered the case of a wall built from colloidal particles that are either free to rotate, representing a crystal held together by isotropic forces, or have their rotational degrees of freedom locked-in, representing a crystal held together by directional interactions. In both cases, we find that puller-like swimmers follow a stochastic run-and-tumble-like dynamics.