Effect of anisotropy on the formation of active particle films

TC Rebocho and M Tasinkevych and CS Dias, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 106, 024609 (2022).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.106.024609

Active colloids belong to a class of nonequilibrium systems where energy uptake, conversion, and dissipation occur at the level of individual colloidal particles, which can lead to particles' self-propelled motion and surprising collective behavior. Examples include coexistence of vapor- and liquid-like steady states for active particles with repulsive interactions only, phenomena known as motility-induced phase transitions. Similarly to motile unicellular organisms, active colloids tend to accumulate at confining surfaces forming dense adsorbed films. In this work, we study the structure and dynamics of aggregates of self- propelled particles near confining solid surfaces, focusing on the effects of the particle anisotropic interactions. We performed Langevin dynamics simulations of two complementary models for active particles: ellipsoidal particles interacting through the Gay-Berne potential and rodlike particles composed of several repulsive Lennard-Jones beads. We observe a nonmonotonic behavior of the structure of clusters formed along the confining surface as a function of the particle aspect ratio, with a film spreading when particles are near-spherical, compact clusters with hedgehog-like particle orientation for more elongated active particles, and a complex dynamical behavior for an intermediate aspect ratio. The stabilization time of cluster formation along the confining surface also displays a nonmonotonic dependence on the aspect ratio, with a local minimum at intermediate values. Additionally, we demonstrate that the hedgehog-like aggregates formed by Gay-Berne ellipsoids exhibit higher structural stability as compared to the ones formed by purely repulsive active rods, which are stable due to the particle activity only.

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