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Filling an Emulsion Drop with Motile Bacteria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number268101
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Volume113
Issue number26
DOIs
StatePublished - 22 Dec 2014

Abstract

We have measured the spatial distribution of motile Escherichia coli inside spherical water droplets emulsified in oil. At low cell concentrations, the cell density peaks at the water-oil interface; at increasing concentration, the bulk of each droplet fills up uniformly while the surface peak remains. Simulations and theory show that the bulk density results from a "traffic" of cells leaving the surface layer, increasingly due to cell-cell scattering as the surface coverage rises above similar to 10%. Our findings show similarities with the physics of a rarefied gas in a spherical cavity with attractive walls.

Research areas

  • FLUID-DYNAMICS, IMAGE-ANALYSIS, SURFACE, MICROSCOPY, GEOMETRY

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