Dynamic optical rectification and delivery of active particles

Nick Koumakis*, Aidan T. Brown, Jochen Arlt, Samuel E. Griffiths, Vincent A. Martinez, Wilson C.K. Poon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We use moving light patterns to control the motion of Escherichia coli bacteria whose motility is photo-activated. Varying the pattern speed controls the magnitude and direction of the bacterial flux, and therefore the accumulation of cells in up- and down-stream reservoirs. We validate our results with two-dimensional simulations and a 1-dimensional analytic model, and use these to explore parameter space. We find that cell accumulation is controlled by a competition between directed flux and undirected, stochastic transport. Our results point to a number of design principles for using moving light patterns and light-activated micro-swimmers in a range of practical applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7026-7032
Number of pages7
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2019


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