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Dynamical modes of sheared confined microscale matter

Gerloff, Sascha; Ortiz-Ambriz, Antonio; Tierno, Pietro; Klapp, Sabine H. L.

Based on (overdamped) Stokesian dynamics simulations and video microscopy experiments, we study the non equilibrium dynamics of a sheared colloidal cluster, which is confined to a two-dimensional disk. The experimental system is composed of a mixture of paramagnetic and non magnetic polystyrene particles, which are held in the disk by time shared optical tweezers. The paramagnetic particles are located at the center of the disk and are actuated by an external, rotating magnetic field that induces a magnetic torque. We identify two different steady states by monitoring the mean angular velocities per ring. The first one is characterized by rare slip events, where the inner rings momentarily depin from the outer ring, which is kept static by the set of optical traps. For the second state, we find a bistability of the mean angular velocities, which can be understood from the analysis of the slip events in the particle trajectories. We calculate the particle waiting- and jumping time distributions and estimate a time scale between slips, which is also reflected by a plateau in the mean squared azimuthal displacement. The dynamical transition is further reflected by the components of the stress tensor, revealing a shear-thinning behavior as well as shear stress overshoots. Finally, we briefly discuss the observed transition in the context of stochastic thermodynamics and how it may open future directions in this field.
Published in: Soft Matter, 10.1039/D0SM01238F, Royal Society of Chemistry