Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Active particles may enhance phase separation


Model system used to illustrate phase transition of a mixture of active and passive particles

Systems containing self-propelling particles, such as bacteria or artificial colloidal particles, are always out of equilibrium but may show interesting transitions between different states, reminiscent of phase transitions in Systems containing self-propelling particles, such as bacteria or artificial colloidal particles, are always out of equilibrium but may show interesting transitions between different states, reminiscent of phase transitions in equilibrium.

Snapshots from a molecular dynamics simulation with 547 colloids and 1,781 polymers in an elongated simulation box. The upper image shows an equilibrium configuration of the passive system which did not phase-separate. The lower image is the corresponding active system in its steady state which is clearly phase-separated. In both pictures, colloids are shown in yellow and polymers in black. (ill./©: Peter Virnau, JGU)

However, application of analytical and computational methodologies from equilibrium statistical mechanics is questionable to study properties of such active systems. An international team of researchers – including Dr. Peter Virnau and Professor Kurt Binder of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), Benjamin Trefz of the JGU Graduate School of Excellence "Materials Science in Mainz" (MAINZ), and scientists from India and the U.S. – has studied the phase separation of a mixture of active and passive particles via molecular dynamics simulations and integral equation theoretical calculations. The distinctive feature of the model used is that the "activity" of the particles is tunable, containing passive particles as a limiting case for which already phase separation occurs.

"Our research results demonstrate that the introduction of activity may not only hamper phase separation as shown previously, but can enhance it as well, based on the coordination among the active particles," explained Dr. Peter Virnau of the Institute of Physics at Mainz University. Moreover, the researchers provided an approximate mapping of the phase behavior and structural properties of this nonequilibrium problem onto an equilibrium problem. A general validity of this mapping is subject to further careful testing. The confirmation of such validity would be an important step forward in understanding properties of active matter.

Subir K. Das et al.
Phase Behavior of Active Swimmers in Depletants: Molecular Dynamics and Integral Equation Theory
Physical Review Letters, 15 May 2014
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.198301

Further information:
Dr. Peter Virnau
Condensed Matter Theory Group (KOMET)
Institute of Physics
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU)
D 55099 Mainz, GERMANY
phone +49 6131 39-20493
fax +49 6131 39-20496

Weitere Informationen: - Abstract

Petra Giegerich | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: Gutenberg-Universität JGU Molecular Physics activity equilibrium

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie

nachricht Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>