Active Colloids with Position-Dependent Rotational Diffusivity on ArXiv

Active Colloids with Position-Dependent Rotational Diffusivity

Active Colloids with Position-Dependent Rotational Diffusivity
Miguel Angel Fernandez-Rodriguez, Fabio Grillo, Laura Alvarez, Marco Rathlef, Ivo Buttinoni, Giovanni Volpe & Lucio Isa
arXiv: 1911.02291

The non-thermal nature of self-propelling colloids offers new insights into non-equilibrium physics. The central mathematical model to describe their trajectories is active Brownian motion, where a particle moves with a constant speed, while randomly changing direction due to rotational diffu- sion. While several feedback strategies exist to achieve position-dependent velocity, the possibility of spatial and temporal control over rotational diffusion, which is inherently dictated by thermal fluctuations, remains untapped. Here, we decouple rotational diffusion from thermal noise. Using external magnetic fields and discrete-time feedback loops, we tune the rotational diffusivity of active colloids above and below its thermal value at will and explore a rich range of phenomena including anomalous diffusion, directed transport, and localization. These findings add a new dimension to the control of active matter, with implications for a broad range of disciplines, from optimal transport to smart materials.

Intercellular Communication Induces Glycolytic Synchronisation Waves on ArXiv

Intercellular communication induces glycolytic synchronization waves between individually oscillating cells

Intercellular communication induces glycolytic synchronization waves between individually oscillating cells
Martin Mojica-Benavides, David D. van Niekerk, Mite Mijalkov, Jacky L. Snoep, Bernhard Mehlig, Giovanni Volpe, Caroline B. Adiels, and Mattias Goksör
arXiv: 1909.05187

Metabolic oscillations in single cells underlie the mechanisms behind cell synchronization and cell-cell communication. For example, glycolytic oscillations mediated by biochemical communication between cells may synchronize the pulsatile insulin secretion by pancreatic tissue, and a link between glycolytic synchronization anomalies and type-2 diabetes has been hypotesized. Cultures of yeast cells have provided an ideal model system to study synchronization and propagation waves of glycolytic oscillations in large populations. However, the mechanism by which synchronization occurs at individual cell-cell level and overcome local chemical concentrations and heterogenic biological clocks, is still an open question because of experimental limitations in sensitive and specific handling of single cells. Here, we show how the coupling of intercellular diffusion with the phase regulation of individual oscillating cells induce glycolytic synchronization waves. We directly measure the single-cell metabolic responses from yeast cells in a microfluidic environment and characterize a discretized cell-cell communication using graph theory. We corroborate our findings with simulations based on a kinetic detailed model for individual yeast cells. These findings can provide insight into the roles cellular synchronization play in biomedical applications, such as insulin secretion regulation at the cellular level.

Anomalous Diffusion Measurement with Neural Networks published in Phys Rev E

Measurement of Anomalous Diffusion Using Recurrent Neural Networks

Measurement of Anomalous Diffusion Using Recurrent Neural Networks
Stefano Bo, Falko Schmidt, Ralf Eichborn & Giovanni Volpe
Physical Review E 100(1), 010102(R) (2019)
doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.100.010102
arXiv: 1905.02038

Anomalous diffusion occurs in many physical and biological phenomena, when the growth of the mean squared displacement (MSD) with time has an exponent different from one. We show that recurrent neural networks (RNN) can efficiently characterize anomalous diffusion by determining the exponent from a single short trajectory, outperforming the standard estimation based on the MSD when the available data points are limited, as is often the case in experiments. Furthermore, the RNN can handle more complex tasks where there are no standard approaches, such as determining the anomalous diffusion exponent from a trajectory sampled at irregular times, and estimating the switching time and anomalous diffusion exponents of an intermittent system that switches between different kinds of anomalous diffusion. We validate our method on experimental data obtained from sub-diffusive colloids trapped in speckle light fields and super-diffusive microswimmers.

Influence of Sensorial Delay on Clustering and Swarming published in Phys. Rev. E

Influence of Sensorial Delay on Clustering and Swarming

Influence of Sensorial Delay on Clustering and Swarming
Rafal Piwowarczyk, Martin Selin, Thomas Ihle & Giovanni Volpe
Physical Review E 100(1), 012607 (2019)
doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.100.012607
arXiv:  1803.06026

We show that sensorial delay alters the collective motion of self-propelling agents with aligning interactions: In a two-dimensional Vicsek model, short delays enhance the emergence of clusters and swarms, while long or negative delays prevent their formation. In order to quantify this phenomenon, we introduce a global clustering parameter based on the Voronoi tessellation, which permits us to efficiently measure the formation of clusters. Thanks to its simplicity, sensorial delay might already play a role in the organization of living organisms and can provide a powerful tool to engineer and dynamically tune the behavior of large ensembles of autonomous robots.

Intracavity Optical Trapping published in Nature Commun.

Intracavity Optical Trapping

Intracavity optical trapping of microscopic particles in a ring-cavity fiber laser
Fatemeh Kalantarifard, Parviz Elahi, Ghaith Makey, Onofrio M. Maragò, F. Ömer Ilday & Giovanni Volpe
Nature Communications 10, 2683 (2019)
doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-10662-7
arXiv: 1808.07831

Standard optical tweezers rely on optical forces arising when a focused laser beam interacts with a microscopic particle: scattering forces, pushing the particle along the beam direction, and gradient forces, attracting it towards the high-intensity focal spot. Importantly, the incoming laser beam is not affected by the particle position because the particle is outside the laser cavity. Here, we demonstrate that intracavity nonlinear feedback forces emerge when the particle is placed inside the optical cavity, resulting in orders-of-magnitude higher confinement along the three axes per unit laser intensity on the sample. This scheme allows trapping at very low numerical apertures and reduces the laser intensity to which the particle is exposed by two orders of magnitude compared to a standard 3D optical tweezers. These results are highly relevant for many applications requiring manipulation of samples that are subject to photodamage, such as in biophysics and nanosciences.

Subtypes of Brain Atrophy in Alzheimer’s Disease published in Front. Neurol.

Subtypes of Alzheimer’s disease display distinct network abnormalities extending beyond their pattern of brain atrophy

Subtypes of Alzheimer’s disease display distinct network abnormalities extending beyond their pattern of brain atrophy
Daniel Ferreira, Joana B. Pereira, Giovanni Volpe & Eric Westman
Frontiers in Neurology 10, 524 (2019)
DOI: 10.3389/fneur.2019.00524

Different subtypes of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) with characteristic distributions of neurofibrillary tangles and corresponding brain atrophy patterns have been identified using structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, the underlying biological mechanisms that determine this differential expression of neurofibrillary tangles are still unknown. Here, we applied graph theoretical analysis to structural MRI data to test the hypothesis that differential network disruption is at the basis of the emergence of these AD subtypes. We studied a total of 175 AD patients and 81 controls. Subtyping was done using the Scheltens’ scale for medial temporal lobe atrophy, the Koedam’s scale for posterior atrophy, and the Pasquier’s global cortical atrophy scale for frontal atrophy. A total of 89 AD patients showed a brain atrophy pattern consistent with typical AD; 30 patients showed a limbic-predominant pattern; 29 patients showed a hippocampal-sparing pattern; and 27 showed minimal atrophy. We built brain structural networks from 68 cortical regions and 14 subcortical gray matter structures for each AD subtype and for the controls, and we compared between-group measures of integration, segregation, and modular organization. At the global level, modularity was increased and differential modular reorganization was detected in the four subtypes. We also found a decrease of transitivity in the typical and hippocampal-sparing subtypes, as well as an increase of average local efficiency in the minimal atrophy and hippocampal-sparing subtypes. We conclude that the AD subtypes have a distinct signature of network disruption associated with their atrophy patterns and further extending to other brain regions, presumably reflecting the differential spread of neurofibrillary tangles. We discuss the hypothetical emergence of these subtypes and possible clinical implications.

Digital Video Microscopy Enhanced by Deep Learning published in Optica

Digital video microscopy enhanced by deep learning

Digital video microscopy enhanced by deep learning
(Cover article)
Saga Helgadottir, Aykut Argun & Giovanni Volpe
Optica 6(4), 506—513 (2019)
doi: 10.1364/OPTICA.6.000506
arXiv: 1812.02653
GitHub: DeepTrack

Single particle tracking is essential in many branches of science and technology, from the measurement of biomolecular forces to the study of colloidal crystals. Standard methods rely on algorithmic approaches; by fine-tuning several user-defined parameters, these methods can be highly successful at tracking a well-defined kind of particle under low-noise conditions with constant and homogenous illumination. Here, we introduce an alternative data-driven approach based on a convolutional neural network, which we name DeepTrack. We show that DeepTrack outperforms algorithmic approaches, especially in the presence of noise and under poor illumination conditions. We use DeepTrack to track an optically trapped particle under very noisy and unsteady illumination conditions, where standard algorithmic approaches fail. We then demonstrate how DeepTrack can also be used to track multiple particles and non-spherical objects such as bacteria, also at very low signal-to-noise ratios. In order to make DeepTrack readily available for other users, we provide a Python software package, which can be easily personalized and optimized for specific applications.

Active Colloidal Molecules published in J. Chem. Phys.

Light-controlled Assembly of Active Colloidal Molecules
Light-controlled Assembly of Active Colloidal Molecules

Light-controlled Assembly of Active Colloidal Molecules
Falko Schmidt, Benno Liebchen, Hartmut Löwen & Giovanni Volpe
Journal of Chemical Physics 150(9), 094905 (2019)
doi: 10.1063/1.5079861
arXiv: 1801.06868

Thanks to a constant energy input, active matter can self-assemble into phases with complex architectures and functionalities such as living clusters that dynamically form, reshape, and break-up, which are forbidden in equilibrium materials by the entropy maximization (or free energy minimization) principle. The challenge to control this active self-assembly has evoked widespread efforts typically hinging on engineering of the properties of individual motile constituents. Here, we provide a different route, where activity occurs as an emergent phenomenon only when individual building blocks bind together in a way that we control by laser light. Using experiments and simulations of two species of immotile microspheres, we exemplify this route by creating active molecules featuring a complex array of behaviors, becoming migrators, spinners, and rotators. The possibility to control the dynamics of active self-assembly via light-controllable nonreciprocal interactions will inspire new approaches to understand living matter and to design active materials.

Ordering of binary colloidal crystals by random potentials on ArXiv

Ordering of binary colloidal crystals by random potentials

Ordering of binary colloidal crystals by random potentials
André S. Nunes, Sabareesh K. P. Velu, Iryna Kasianiuk, Denys Kasyanyuk, Agnese Callegari, Giorgio Volpe, Margarida M. Telo da Gama, Giovanni Volpe & Nuno A. M. Araújo
arXiv: 1903.01579

Structural defects are ubiquitous in condensed matter, and not always a nuisance. For example, they underlie phenomena such as Anderson localization and hyperuniformity, and they are now being exploited to engineer novel materials. Here, we show experimentally that the density of structural defects in a 2D binary colloidal crystal can be engineered with a random potential. We generate the random potential using an optical speckle pattern, whose induced forces act strongly on one species of particles (strong particles) and weakly on the other (weak particles). Thus, the strong particles are more attracted to the randomly distributed local minima of the optical potential, leaving a trail of defects in the crystalline structure of the colloidal crystal. While, as expected, the crystalline ordering initially decreases with increasing fraction of strong particles, the crystalline order is surprisingly recovered for sufficiently large fractions. We confirm our experimental results with particle-based simulations, which permit us to elucidate how this non-monotonic behavior results from the competition between the particle-potential and particle-particle interactions.

Controlling Colloidal Dynamics by Critical Casimir Forces published in Soft Matter

Controlling the dynamics of colloidal particles by critical Casimir forces

Controlling the dynamics of colloidal particles by critical Casimir forces
(Back cover article)
Alessandro Magazzù, Agnese Callegari, Juan Pablo Staforelli, Andrea Gambassi, Siegfried Dietrich & Giovanni Volpe
Soft Matter 15(10), 2152—2162 (2019)
doi: 10.1039/C8SM01376D
arXiv: 1806.11403

Critical Casimir forces can play an important role for applications in nano-science and nano-technology, owing to their piconewton strength, nanometric action range, fine tunability as a function of temperature, and exquisite dependence on the surface properties of the involved objects. Here, we investigate the effects of critical Casimir forces on the free dynamics of a pair of colloidal particles dispersed in the bulk of a near-critical binary liquid solvent, using blinking optical tweezers. In particular, we measure the time evolution of the distance between the two colloids to determine their relative diffusion and drift velocity. Furthermore, we show how critical Casimir forces change the dynamic properties of this two-colloid system by studying the temperature dependence of the distribution of the so-called first-passage time, i.e., of the time necessary for the particles to reach for the first time a certain separation, starting from an initially assigned one. These data are in good agreement with theoretical results obtained from Monte Carlo simulations and Langevin dynamics.