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
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.
Active Matter Alters the Growth Dynamics of Coffee Rings
Tuğba Andaç, Pascal Weigmann, Sabareesh K. P. Velu, Erçağ Pinçe, Agnese Callegari, Giorgio Volpe, Giovanni Volpe & Agnese Callegari
Soft Matter 15(7), 1488—1496 (2019)
How particles are deposited at the edge of evaporating droplets, i.e. the coffee ring effect, plays a crucial role in phenomena as diverse as thin-film deposition, self-assembly, and biofilm formation. Recently, microorganisms have been shown to passively exploit and alter these deposition dynamics to increase their survival chances under harshening conditions. Here, we show that, as the droplet evaporation rate slows down, bacterial mobility starts playing a major role in determining the growth dynamics of the edge of drying droplets. Such motility-induced dynamics can influence several biophysical phenomena, from the formation of biofilms to the spreading of pathogens in humid environments and on surfaces subject to periodic drying. Analogous dynamics in other active matter systems can be exploited for technological applications in printing, coating, and self-assembly, where the standard coffee-ring effect is often a nuisance.
Clustering of Janus Particles in Optical Potential Driven by Hydrodynamic Fluxes
S. Masoumeh Mousavi, Sabareesh K. P. Velu, Agnese Callegari, Luca Biancofiore & Giovanni Volpe
Self-organisation is driven by the interactions between the individual components of a system mediated by the environment, and is one of the most important strategies used by many biological systems to develop complex and functional structures. Furthermore, biologically-inspired self-organisation offers opportunities to develop the next generation of materials and devices for electronics, photonics and nanotechnology. In this work, we demonstrate experimentally that a system of Janus particles (silica microspheres half-coated with gold) aggregates into clusters in the presence of a Gaussian optical potential and disaggregates when the optical potential is switched off. We show that the underlying mechanism is the existence of a hydrodynamic flow induced by a temperature gradient generated by the light absorption at the metallic patches on the Janus particles. We also perform simulations, which agree well with the experiments and whose results permit us to clarify the underlying mechanism. The possibility of hydrodynamic-flux-induced reversible clustering may have applications in the fields of drug delivery, cargo transport, bioremediation and biopatterning.
Disorder-mediated crowd control in an active matter system
Erçağ Pinçe, Sabareesh K. P. Velu, Agnese Callegari, Parviz Elahi, Sylvain Gigan, Giovanni Volpe & Giorgio Volpe
Nature Communications 7, 10907 (2016)
Living active matter systems such as bacterial colonies, schools of fish and human crowds, display a wealth of emerging collective and dynamic behaviours as a result of far-from- equilibrium interactions. The dynamics of these systems are better understood and controlled considering their interaction with the environment, which for realistic systems is often highly heterogeneous and disordered. Here, we demonstrate that the presence of spatial disorder can alter the long-term dynamics in a colloidal active matter system, making it switch between gathering and dispersal of individuals. At equilibrium, colloidal particles always gather at the bottom of any attractive potential; however, under non-equilibrium driving forces in a bacterial bath, the colloids disperse if disorder is added to the potential. The depth of the local roughness in the environment regulates the transition between gathering and dispersal of individuals in the active matter system, thus inspiring novel routes for controlling emerging behaviours far from equilibrium.