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Self-propulsion of catalytic conical micro-swimmer

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Self-propelled artificial micro-motors have attracted much attention both as fundamental examples of active matter and for their potential biomedical applications (e.g. drug delivery, cell sorting). A popular design exploits the catalytic decomposition of a fuel (e.g. hydrogen peroxide) on the active surface of the motor to produce oxygen bubbles that propel the swimmer, effectively converting chemical energy into swimming motion. We focus here on a conical shape swimmer with chemically-active inner surfaces. Using numerical simulations of the chemical problem and viscous hydrodynamics, we analyse the formation, growth and motion of the bubbles inside the micro-motor and the resulting swimming motion. Our results shed light on the fundamental hydrodynamics of the propulsion of conical swimmers and may help to improve the efficiency of these machines.

This talk is part of the DAMTP BioLunch series.

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