skip to main content


Title: Phoretic self-propulsion of helical active particles
Chemically active colloids self-propel by catalysing the decomposition of molecular ‘fuel’ available in the surrounding solution. If the various molecular species involved in the reaction have distinct interactions with the colloid surface, and if the colloid has some intrinsic asymmetry in its surface chemistry or geometry, there will be phoretic flows in an interfacial layer surrounding the particle, leading to directed motion. Most studies of chemically active colloids have focused on spherical, axisymmetric ‘Janus’ particles, which (in the bulk, and in absence of fluctuations) simply move in a straight line. For particles with a complex (non-spherical and non-axisymmetric) geometry, the dynamics can be much richer. Here, we consider chemically active helices. Via numerical calculations and slender body theory, we study how the translational and rotational velocities of the particle depend on geometry and the distribution of catalytic activity over the particle surface. We confirm the recent finding of Katsamba et al. ( J. Fluid Mech. , vol. 898, 2020, p. A24) that both tangential and circumferential concentration gradients contribute to the particle velocity. The relative importance of these contributions has a strong impact on the motion of the particle. We show that, by a judicious choice of the particle design parameters, one can suppress components of angular velocity that are perpendicular to the screw axis, or even select for purely ‘sideways’ translation of the helix.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1920304
NSF-PAR ID:
10377010
Author(s) / Creator(s):
;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Fluid Mechanics
Volume:
927
ISSN:
0022-1120
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    The anisotropy in the shape of polymeric particles has been demonstrated to have many advantages over spherical particulates, including bio‐mimetic behavior, shaped‐directed flow, deformation, surface adhesion, targeting, motion, and permeability. The layer‐by‐layer (LbL) assembly is uniquely suited for synthesizing anisotropic particles as this method allows for simple and versatile replication of diverse colloid geometries with precise control over their chemical and physical properties. This review highlights recent progress in anisotropic particles of micrometer and nanometer sizes produced by a templated multilayer assembly of synthetic and biological macromolecules. Synthetic approaches to produce capsules and hydrogels utilizing anisotropic templates such as biological, polymeric, bulk hydrogel, inorganic colloids, and metal–organic framework crystals as sacrificial templates are overviewed. Structure‐property relationships controlled by the anisotropy in particle shape and surface are discussed and compared with their spherical counterparts. Advances and challenges in controlling particle properties through varying shape anisotropy and surface asymmetry are outlined. The perspective applications of anisotropic colloids in biomedicine, including programmed behavior in the blood and tissues as artificial cells, nano‐motors/sensors, and intelligent drug carriers are also discussed.

     
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Active colloids are a class of microparticles that ‘swim’ through fluids by breaking the symmetry of the force distribution on their surfaces. Our ability to direct these particles along complex trajectories in three-dimensional (3D) space requires strategies to encode the desired forces and torques at the single particle level. Here, we show that spherical colloids with metal patches of low symmetry self-propel along non-linear 3D trajectories when powered remotely by an alternating current (AC) electric field. In particular, particles with triangular patches of approximate mirror symmetry trace helical paths along the axis of the field. We demonstrate that the speed and shape of the particle’s trajectory can be tuned by the applied field strength and the patch geometry. We show that helical motion can enhance particle transport through porous materials with implications for the design of microrobots that can navigate complex environments.

     
    more » « less
  3. null (Ed.)
    Research on colloids is motivated by several factors. They can be used to answer fundamental questions related to the assembly of materials, and they have many potential applications in electronics, photonics, and life sciences. However, the rich variety of colloidal structures observed on the Earth can be influenced by the effects of gravity, which leads to particles settling and the motion of the surrounding fluid. To suppress the gravity effects, experiments on concentrated colloids of spherical and ellipsoidal fluorescent particles were carried out aboard the International Space Station. The particles were suspended in a decalin/tetralin mixture to match the particle refractive index. Confocal microscopy was used to visualize the particle behavior. The work was supported by the NSF CBET grants 1832260 and 1832291 and the NASA grant 80NSSC19K1655. 
    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
    Research on colloids is motivated by several factors. They can be used to answer fundamental questions related to the assembly of materials, and they have many potential applications in electronics, photonics, and life sciences. However, the rich variety of colloidal structures observed on the Earth can be influenced by the effects of gravity, which leads to particles settling and the motion of the surrounding fluid. To suppress the gravity effects, experiments on concentrated colloids of spherical and ellipsoidal fluorescent particles were carried out aboard the International Space Station. The particles were suspended in a decalin/tetralin mixture to match the particle refractive index. Confocal microscopy was used to visualize the particle behavior. The work was supported by the NSF CBET grants 1832260 and 1832291 and the NASA grant 80NSSC19K1655. 
    more » « less
  5. Colloid-sized particles (10 nm–10 μm in characteristic size) adsorb onto fluid interfaces, where they minimize their interfacial energy by straddling the surface, immersing themselves partly in each phase bounding the interface. The energy minimum achieved by relocation to the surface can be orders of magnitude greater than the thermal energy, effectively trapping the particles into monolayers, allowing them freedom only to translate and rotate along the surface. Particles adsorbed at interfaces are models for the understanding of the dynamics and assembly of particles in two dimensions and have broad technological applications, importantly in foam and emulsion science and in the bottom-up fabrication of new materials based on their monolayer assemblies. In this review, the hydrodynamics of the colloid motion along the surface is examined from both continuum and molecular dynamics frameworks. The interfacial energies of adsorbed particles is discussed first, followed by the hydrodynamics, starting with isolated particles followed by pairwise and multiple particle interactions. The effect of particle shape is emphasized, and the role played by the immersion depth and the surface rheology is discussed; experiments illustrating the applicability of the hydrodynamic studies are also examined. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics, Volume 54 is January 2022. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates. 
    more » « less