Active micromachines: Microfluidics powered by mesoscale turbulence

Sumesh P. Thampi, Amin Doostmohammadi, Tyler N. Shendruk, Ramin Golestanian, Julia M. Yeomans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Dense active matter, from bacterial suspensions and microtubule bundles driven by motor proteins to cellular monolayers and synthetic Janus particles, is characterized by mesoscale turbulence, which is the emergence of chaotic flow structures. By immersing an ordered array of symmetric rotors in an active fluid, we introduce a microfluidic system that exploits spontaneous symmetry breaking in mesoscale turbulence to generate work. The lattice of rotors self-organizes into a spin state where neighboring discs continuously rotate in permanent alternating directions due to combined hydrodynamic and elastic effects. Our virtual prototype demonstrates a new research direction for the design of micromachines powered by the nematohydrodynamic properties of active turbulence.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1501854
JournalScience Advances
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2016


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