University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Cambridge Philosophical Society > G I Taylor Lecture - Using light to orchestrate the assembly of self-propelled particles into microfluidic devices

G I Taylor Lecture - Using light to orchestrate the assembly of self-propelled particles into microfluidic devices

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Abstract: Many recent experiments address synthetic colloidal particles capable of self-propulsion in the presence of a fuel supply. Unlike passive Brownian motion which it superficially resembles, their active motion breaks time-reversal symmetry. This allows unusual physics to arise, such as a liquid-gas phase separation among particles with purely repulsive interactions. In several systems, the self-propulsion effect can be switched on and off using a light field. I will discuss how these elements might one day be harnessed to create self-rectifying microfluidic devices under optical control, and present ‘proof of concept’ simulations of the basic effect.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Philosophical Society series.

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