News

Antonio A. R. Neves visits the Soft Matter Lab. Welcome!

Antonio Alvaro Ranha Neves is a Visiting Professor from the Federal University of ABC in Brazil. His visiting position is financed through a FAPESP-ERC grant. He will visit us for 4 months from May 12, 2018, to September 12, 2018.

He works mainly with optical tweezers studying optical forces with both experimental and theoretical tools.

He obtained his Ph.D. in physics in 2006, at the State University of Campinas (Brazil). From 2006 to 2012, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the National Nanotechnology Laboratories of the Nanoscience Institute in Lecce (Italy), within the Soft-matter division. Since 2012, he is a professor at the Federal University of ABC (Brazil), accredited in the graduate program of Nanoscience and Advanced Materials.

His main research interest is in the field of light-matter interaction, with a special focus on the applications of optical tweezers as well as linear and multi-photon spectroscopy as well. His current line of research is the study of bull sperm motility with optical tweezers, and starting the characterization of thermal properties of metallic nanoparticles in optical traps.

Seminar by G. Volpe at TU Dresden, 3 May 18

Emergent Complex Behaviors in Active Matter
Giovanni Volpe
TU Dresden, Dresden, Germany
3 May 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.

Talk by F. Schmidt at IONS Scandinavia 2018, Copenhagen, 5-9 Jun 18

Light-controlled Assembly of Active Colloidal Molecules
Falko Schmidt, Benno Liebchen, Hartmut Löwen & Giovanni Volpe
IONS Scandinavia 2018, Copenhagen, Denmark
5-9 June 2018

We experimentally demonstrate the light-controlled assembly of active colloidal molecules from a suspension of two species of passive microspheres. When light is shone on the sample, the ac- tive molecules form and acquire motility through non-reciprocal interactions between their passive components. As their size grows, they feature a complex array of behaviors, becoming propellers, spinners and rotators. Their shape and functionality can be tuned by applying periodic illumination. We also provide a theoretical model allowing to predict the complete table of emerging active molecules and their properties in quantitative agreement with the experiments.

Reference: Schmidt et al. Light-controlled Assembly of Active Colloidal Molecules arXiv:1801.06868 (2018)

Talk by A. Argun at IONS Scandinavia 2018, Copenhagen, 5-9 Jun 18

Experimental realization of a minimal microscopic heat engine
Aykut Argun, Jalpa Soni, Lennart Dabelow, Stefano Bo, Giuseppe Pesce,
Ralf Eichborn & Giovanni Volpe
IONS Scandinavia 2018, Copenhagen, Denmark
5-9 June 2018

Abstract:  Microscopic heat engines are microscale systems that convert energy flows between heat reservoirs into work or systematic motion. We have experimentally realized a minimal microscopic heat engine. It consists of a colloidal Brownian particle optically trapped in an elliptical potential well and simultaneously coupled to two heat baths at different temperatures acting along perpendicular directions. For a generic arrangement of the principal directions of the baths and the potential, the symmetry of the system is broken, such that the heat flow drives a systematic gyrating motion of the particle around the potential minimum. Using the experimentally measured trajectories, we quantify the gyrating motion of the particle, the resulting torque that it exerts on the potential, and the associated heat flow between the heat baths. We find excellent agreement between the experimental results and the theoretical predictions. 

Reference: Argun et al. Experimental realization of a minimal microscopic heat engine. Physical Review E 96(5), 052106 (2017)

Talk by G. Volpe at SPIE OTOM XV, San Diego, 23 Aug 18

Microscopic Engine Powered by Critical Demixing
Falko Schmidt, Alessandro Magazzù, Agnese Callegari, Luca Biancofiore, Frank Cichos & Giovanni Volpe
SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering, Optical trapping and Optical Manipulation XV, San Diego (CA), USA
19-23 August 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. 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.

Reference: Schmidt et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 120(6), 068004 (2018) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.068004

Short course by G. Volpe at Imaging in Neurosciences, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, 29 Nov 18

Lectures Graph theory concepts and Hands-on practice (Graph theory) by Giovanni Volpe within the graduate course Imaging in Neuroscience: With a focus on structural MRI methods organised by Karolinska Institute.

Venue: Alfred Nobels allé 23, room 317, campus Huddinge (Flemingsberg), Stockholm

 

Mite Mijalkov defended his PhD Thesis. Congrats!

Mite Mijalkov defended his PhD Thesis on 24 April 2018 in the Physics Department seminar room (SA240).

Assoc. Prof. Hande Toffoli (Middle-East Technical University), Prof. Tayfun Ozcelik (Bilkent University), Assoc. Prof. Alpan Bek (Middle-East Technical University), Assist. Prof. Seymur Cahangirov (Bilkent Unievrsity) and Assist. Prof. Giovanni Volpe (Bilkent University) will be the thesis committee members.

Thesis title: Graph Theory Study of Complex Networks in the Brain

Thesis abstract: The brain is a large-scale, intricate web of neurons, known as the connectome. By representing the brain as a network i.e. a set of nodes connected by edges, one can study its organization by using concepts from graph theory to evaluate various measures. We have developed BRAPH – BRain Analysis using graPHtheory, a MatLab, object-oriented freeware that facilitates the connectivity analysis of brain networks. BRAPH provides user-friendly interfaces that guide the user through the various steps of the connectivity analysis, such as, calculating adjacency matrices, evaluating global and local measures, performing group comparisons by non-parametric permutations and assessing the communities in a network. Furthermore, using graph theory, we showed that structural MRI undirected networks of stable MCI (sMCI) subjects, late MCI converters (lMCIc), early MCI converters (eMCIc), and AD patients show abnormal organization. This is indicated, at global level, by decreases in clustering and transitivity accompanied by increases in path length and modularity and, at nodal level, by changes in nodal clustering and closeness centrality in patient groups when compared to controls. In samples that do not exhibit differences in the undirected analysis, we propose the usage of directed networks to assess any topological changes due to a neurodegenerative disease. We demonstrate that such changes can be identified in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients by using directed networks built by delayed correlation coefficients. Finally, we put forward a method that improves the reconstruction of the brain connectome by utilizing the delays in the dynamic behavior of the neurons. We show that this delayed correlationmethod correctly identifies 70% to 80% of the real connections in simulated networks and performs well in the identification of their global and nodal properties.

Name of the PhD programme: Material Science and Nanotechnology Graduate Program
Thesis Advisor  Giovanni Volpe, Department of Physics, Bilkent University

Place: Physics Department seminar room (SA240), Bilkent University
Time: 24 April, 2018, 11:00

Invited talk by G. Volpe at the 9th Nordic Workshop on Statistical Physics, Stockholm, 21-23 Mar 18

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 18

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

Influence of Sensorial Delay on Clustering and Swarming preprint in arXiv

Influence of Sensorial Delay on Clustering and Swarming

Influence of Sensorial Delay on Clustering and Swarming
Rafal Piwowarczyk, Martin Selin, Thomas Ihle & Giovanni Volpe
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.