Volume 84, Number 6, December 2008
Article Number 68002
Number of page(s) 6
Section Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology
Published online 12 January 2009
EPL, 84 (2008) 68002
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/84/68002

A simple self-organized swimmer driven by molecular motors

S. Günther and K. Kruse

Saarland University, Department of Physics, Campus E2 6 - 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany, EU and Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems - Nöthnitzer Str. 38, 01187 Dresden, Germany, EU

received 16 June 2008; accepted in final form 13 November 2008; published December 2008
published online 12 January 2009

We investigate a self-organized swimmer at low Reynolds numbers. The microscopic swimmer is composed of three spheres that are connected by two identical active linker arms. Each linker arm contains molecular motors and elastic elements and can oscillate spontaneously. We find that such a system immersed in a viscous fluid can self-organize into a state of directed swimming. The swimmer provides a simple system to study important aspects of the swimming of micro-organisms.

87.16.-b - Subcellular structure and processes.
47.15.G- - Low-Reynolds-number (creeping) flows.
05.45.Xt - Synchronization; coupled oscillators.

© EPLA 2008