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Title: Flocking ferromagnetic colloids

Assemblages of microscopic colloidal particles exhibit fascinating collective motion when energized by electric or magnetic fields. The behaviors range from coherent vortical motion to phase separation and dynamic self-assembly. While colloidal systems are relatively simple, understanding their collective response, especially in out of equilibrium conditions, remains elusive. Here, we report on the emergence of flocking and global rotation in the system of rolling ferromagnetic microparticles energized by a vertical alternating magnetic field. By combing experiments and discrete particle simulations, we have identified primary physical mechanisms leading to the emergence of largescale collective motion: spontaneous symmetry breaking of the clock / counterclockwise particle rotation, collisional alignment of particle velocities, and random particle re-orientations due to shape imperfections. We have also shown that hydrodynamic interactions between the particles do not have a qualitative effect on the collective dynamics. Lastly, our findings shed light on the onset of spatial and temporal coherence in a large class of active systems, both synthetic (colloids, swarms of robots, biopolymers) and living (suspensions of bacteria, cell colonies, bird flocks).
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
  2. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States); Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Science Advances
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 3; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 2375-2548
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22); Materials Sciences and Engineering Division; German Research Foundation (DFG)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; self-assembly; colloids; active matter; flocking; collective behavior; synchronization
OSTI Identifier: