Active Atoms and Interstitials in Two-dimensional Colloidal Crystals
Kilian Dietrich, Ivo Buttinoni, Giovanni Volpe & Lucio Isa
We study experimentally and numerically the motion of a self-phoretic active particle in two- dimensional (2D) loosely-packed colloidal crystals at fluid interfaces. Two scenarios emerge de- pending on the interaction between the active particle and the lattice: the active particle either navigates throughout the crystal as an interstitial or is part of the lattice and behaves as an active atom. Active interstitials undergo a run-and-tumble motion, with the passive colloids of the crystal acting as tumbling sites. Instead, active atoms exhibit an intermittent motion, which stems from the interplay between the periodic potential landscape of the passive crystal and the particle’s self- propulsion. Our results shed new light on the behaviour of dense active phases and constitute the first step towards the realization of non-close-packed crystalline phases with internal activity.