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Journal Article

Self-assembly of active colloidal molecules with dynamic function


Golestanian,  Ramin       
Department of Living Matter Physics, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Max Planck Society;

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Soto, R., & Golestanian, R. (2015). Self-assembly of active colloidal molecules with dynamic function. Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics, 91(5): 052304. doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.91.052304.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-749D-C
Catalytically active colloids maintain nonequilibrium conditions in which they produce and deplete chemicals and hence effectively act as sources and sinks of molecules. While individual colloids that are symmetrically coated do not exhibit any form of dynamical activity, the concentration fields resulting from their chemical activity decay as 1/r and produce gradients that attract or repel other colloids depending on their surface chemistry and ambient variables. This results in a nonequilibrium analog of ionic systems, but with the remarkable novel feature of action-reaction symmetry breaking. We study solutions of such chemically active colloids in dilute conditions when they join up to form molecules via generalized ionic bonds and discuss how we can achieve structures with time-dependent functionality. In particular, we study a molecule that adopts a spontaneous oscillatory pattern of conformations and another that exhibits a run-and-tumble dynamics similar to bacteria. Our study shows that catalytically active colloids could be used for designing self-assembled structures that possess dynamical functionalities that are determined by their prescribed three-dimensional structures, a strategy that follows the design principle of proteins. © 2015 American Physical Society.