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Emergent behavior in active colloids

Zöttl, Andreas; Stark, Holger

Active colloids are microscopic particles, which self-propel through viscous fluids by converting energy extracted from their environment into directed motion. We first explain how artificial microswimmers move forward by generating near-surface flow fields via self-phoresis or the self-induced Marangoni effect. We then discuss generic features of the dynamics of single active colloids in bulk and in confinement, as well as in the presence of gravity, field gradients, and fluid flow. In the third section, we review the emergent collective behavior of active colloidal suspensions, focusing on their structural and dynamic properties. After summarizing experimental observations, we give an overview of the progress in modeling collectively moving active colloids. While active Brownian particles are heavily used to study collective dynamics on large scales, more advanced methods are necessary to explore the importance of hydrodynamic and phoretic particle interactions. Finally, the relevant physical approaches to quantify the emergent collective behavior are presented.
Published in: Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, 10.1088/0953-8984/28/25/253001, IOP