Natural selection in the colloid world: active chiral spirals.

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Faraday discussions, ISSN: 1359-6640, Vol: 191, Issue: 0, Page: 35-46

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Zhang, Jie; Granick, Steve
Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC); The Royal Society of Chemistry; ROYAL SOC CHEMISTRY
Medicine; Chemistry
article description
We present a model system in which to study natural selection in the colloid world. In the assembly of active Janus particles into rotating pinwheels when mixed with trace amounts of homogeneous colloids in the presence of an AC electric field, broken symmetry in the rotation direction produces spiral, chiral shapes. Locked into a central rotation point by the centre particle, the spiral arms are found to trail rotation of the overall cluster. To achieve a steady state, the spiral arms undergo an evolutionary process to coordinate their motion. Because all the particles as segments of the pinwheel arms are self-propelled, asymmetric arm lengths are tolerated. Reconfiguration of these structures can happen in various ways and various mechanisms of this directed structural change are analyzed in detail. We introduce the concept of VIP (very important particles) to express that sustainability of active structures is most sensitive to only a few particles at strategic locations in the moving self-assembled structures.