Memory-Induced Transition from a Persistent Random Walk to Circular Motion for Achiral Microswimmers

Phys. Rev. Lett. 121, 078003 (2018)

We experimentally study the motion of light-activated colloidal microswimmers in a viscoelastic fluid. We find that, in such a non-Newtonian environment, the active colloids undergo an unexpected transition from enhanced angular diffusion to persistent rotational motion above a critical propulsion speed, despite their spherical shape and stiffness. We observe that, in contrast to chiral asymmetric microswimmers, the resulting circular orbits can...

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Experimental observation of the Aubry transition in two-dimensional colloidal monolayers

Physical Review X 8, 011050 (2018)

The possibility to achieve entirely frictionless, i.e. superlubric, sliding between solids, holds enormous potential for the operation of mechanical devices. At small length scales, where mechanical contacts are well-defined, Aubry predicted a transition from a superlubric to a pinned state when the mechanical load is increased. Evidence for this intriguing Aubry transition (AT), which should occur in one dimension (1D) and at zero temperature, was recently...

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Oscillating Modes of Driven Colloids in Overdamped Systems

Nature Communications 9, 999 (2018)

Microscopic colloidal particles suspended in liquids are a prominent example of an overdamped system where viscous forces dominate over inertial effects. Frequently, colloids are used as sensitive probes, e.g., in biophysical applications from which molecular forces are inferred. The interpretation of such experiments rests on the assumption that, even when the particles are driven, the liquid remains in equilibrium. Here we experimentally demonstrate that...

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