Directional Locking Effects for Active Matter Particles Coupled to a Periodic Substrate

12 Aug 2020  ·  Reichhardt C., Reichhardt C. J. O. ·

Directional locking occurs when a particle moving over a periodic substrate becomes constrained to travel along certain substrate symmetry directions. Such locking effects arise for colloids and superconducting vortices moving over ordered substrates when the direction of the external drive is varied... Here we study the directional locking of run-and-tumble active matter particles interacting with a periodic array of obstacles. In the absence of an external biasing force, we find that the active particle motion locks to various symmetry directions of the substrate when the run time between tumbles is large. The number of possible locking directions depends on the array density and on the relative sizes of the particles and the obstacles. For a square array of large obstacles, the active particle only locks to the $x$, $y$, and $45^{\circ}$ directions, while for smaller obstacles, the number of locking angles increases. Each locking angle satisfies $\theta = \arctan(p/q)$, where $p$ and $q$ are integers, and the angle of motion can be measured using the ratio of the velocities or the velocity distributions in the $x$ and $y$ directions. When a biasing driving force is applied, the directional locking behavior is affected by the ratio of the self-propulsion force to the biasing force. For large biasing, the behavior resembles that found for directional locking in passive systems. For large obstacles under biased driving, a trapping behavior occurs that is non-monotonic as a function of increasing run length or increasing self-propulsion force, and the trapping diminishes when the run length is sufficiently large. read more

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Soft Condensed Matter Statistical Mechanics