Motility versus fluctuations in mixtures of self-motile and passive agents

DF Hinz and A Panchenko and TY Kim and E Fried, SOFT MATTER, 10, 9082-9089 (2014).

DOI: 10.1039/c4sm01562b

Many biological systems consist of self-motile and passive agents both of which contribute to overall functionality. However, little is known about the properties of such mixtures. Here we formulate a model for mixtures of self-motile and passive agents and show that the model gives rise to three different dynamical phases: a disordered mesoturbulent phase, a polar flocking phase, and a vortical phase characterized by large-scale counter rotating vortices. We use numerical simulations to construct a phase diagram and compare the statistical properties of the different phases with observed features of self-motile bacterial suspensions. Our findings afford specific insights regarding the interaction of microorganisms and passive particles and provide novel strategic guidance for efficient technological realizations of artificial active matter.

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