Invited talk by G. Volpe at the 9th Nordic Workshop on Statistical Physics, Stockholm, 21-23 Mar 2018

Recent Progress on the Experimental Study of Active Matter
Giovanni Volpe
The 9th Nordic Workshop on Statistical Physics: Biological, Complex and Non-equilibrium Systems, NORDITA, Stockholm, Sweden
21-23 March 2018

After a brief introduction of active particles, I’ll present some recent advances on the study of active particles in complex and crowded environments.
First, I’ll show that active particles can work as microswimmers and microengines powered by critical fluctuations and controlled by light.
Then, I’ll discuss some examples of behavior of active particles in crowded environments: a few active particles alter the overall dynamics of a system; active particles create metastable clusters and channels; active matter leads to non-Boltzmann distributions and alternative non-equilibrium relations; and active colloidal molecules can be created and controlled by light.
Finally, I’ll present some examples of the behavior of active particles in complex environments: active particles often perform 2D active Brownian motion; active particles at liquid-liquid interfaces behave as active interstitials or as active atoms; and the environment alters the optimal search strategy for active particles in complex topologies.

Seminar on photophoretic forces by Ayan Banerjee from IISER-Kolkata, Nexus, 20 Mar 2018

Photophoretic forces: A new enabler for robust single fiber-based optical traps in air
Seminar by Ayan Banerjee from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Kolkata, India

Abstract: Photophoretic forces, which are derived from the momentum exchange of absorbing particles with surrounding fluid molecules, are especially useful for trapping particles in air, where their very large magnitude (about five orders more than optically induced dipole forces) successfully balances gravity. Thus, particles levitate in the direction of gravity, while in the transverse direction, they are trapped by a restoring force emanating from the rotation of the particles around the trapping beam axis. Photophoretic forces thus enable the use of single optical fibers for stable three dimensional traps. In this talk, I shall describe our efforts to develop such single fiber based traps, where we find that a single mode fiber is not necessarily the most efficacious in terms of trapping. Robust trapping is achieved when the off-axis intensity of the trapping beam is high, so that rather unexpectedly, we observe that a single multi-mode fiber allows much stronger trapping in general, and especially in the radial direction compared to a single mode finer. We are able to trap particles at extremely low laser powers (around 5 mW) in air, and can manipulate printer toner particles of diameter less than 20 microns at translation velocities of 5 mm/s in our multi-mode fiber trap. Particles can be manipulated by merely changing the power in the trapping beam, which accentuates the power and promise of this technique as a possible candidate for single fiber-based hand held tweezers for confining and even spectroscopically analysing aerosols or pathogens present in the air.

Bio: Ayan Banerjee has been working in the field of optics and spectroscopy for the last 22 years. He obtained his Ph.D in physics from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, following which he was a research scientist at General Electric Global Research, Bangalore, India. Since 2009, he has been an associate professor of physics at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Kolkata. His research interests span a wide range of subjects in optics and spectroscopy. At IISER, he has set up an optical tweezers lab to study diverse problems in a truly interdisciplinary mode of research.

Place: Nexus, meeting room, Fysik Origo, Fysik
Time: 20 March, 2018, 14:00

Talk by F. Schmidt at the APS March Meeting, Los Angeles, 8 Mar 2018

Microscopic Engine Powered by Critical Demixing
Falko Schmidt, Alessandro Magazzu, Agnese Callegari, Luca Biancofiore, Frank Cichos & Giovanni Volpe
APS March Meeting 2018, Los Angeles (CA), USA
5-9 March 2018

During the last few decades much effort has gone into the miniaturization of machines down to the microscopic scale with robotic solutions indispensable in modern industrial processes and play a central role in many biological systems. There has been a quest in understanding the mechanism behind molecular motors and several approaches have been proposed to realize artificial engines capable of converting energy into mechanical work. These current micronsized engines depend on the transfer of angular momentum of light, are driven by external magnetic fields, due to chemical reactions or by the energy flow between two thermal reservoirs [1-5]. Here we propose a new type of engine that is powered by the local, reversible demixing of a critical binary liquid. In particular, we show that an absorbing, optically trapped particle performs revolutions around the optical beam because of the emergence of diffusiophoresis and thereby produces work. This engines is adjustable by the optical power supplied, the temperature of the environment and the criticality of the system.

1. P.A. Quinto-Su, Nat. Comm. (2014).
2. V. Blickle et al., Nat. Phys. (2012).
3. I.A. Martinez et al., Nat. Phys. 12 (2016).
4. S.L. Neale et al., Nat. Mater. (2005).
5. A. Argun et al., arXiv preprint (2017)

Session R57: Active Matter I
8:00 AM–11:00 AM, Thursday, March 8, 2018
LACC Room: 518
Sponsoring Units: GSOFT DBIO GSNP
Chair: Paulo Arratia, Univ of Pennsylvania