Volume 103, Number 6, September 2013
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Published online||22 October 2013|
Self-propulsion through symmetry breaking
1 Chemical Physics Theory Group, Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto Toronto, Ontario, M5S 3H6 Canada
2 Center for Nonlinear Phenomena and Complex Systems, Université libre de Bruxelles CP231, Av. F.D. Roosevelt 50, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, EU
3 Abteilung Physikalische Chemie, Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft Faradayweg 4-6, 14195 Berlin, Germany, EU
Received: 18 July 2013
Accepted: 25 September 2013
In addition to self-propulsion by phoretic mechanisms that arises from an asymmetric distribution of reactive species around a catalytic motor, spherical particles with a uniform distribution of catalytic activity may also propel themselves under suitable conditions. Reactive fluctuation-induced asymmetry can give rise to transient concentration gradients which may persist under certain conditions, giving rise to a bifurcation to self-propulsion. The nature of this phenomenon is analyzed in detail, and particle-level simulations are carried out to demonstrate its existence.
PACS: 05.60.Cd – Classical transport / 02.70.Ns – Molecular dynamics and particle methods / 05.40.-a – Fluctuation phenomena, random processes, noise, and Brownian motion
© EPLA, 2013
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