Swimming in a crystal

Aidan T. Brown*, Ioana D. Vladescu, Angela Dawson, Teun Vissers, Jana Schwarz-Linek, Juho S. Lintuvuori, Wilson C K Poon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study catalytic Janus particles and Escherichia coli bacteria swimming in a two-dimensional colloidal crystal. The Janus particles orbit individual colloids and hop between colloids stochastically, with a hopping rate that varies inversely with fuel (hydrogen peroxide) concentration. At high fuel concentration, these orbits are stable for 100s of revolutions, and the orbital speed oscillates periodically as a result of hydrodynamic, and possibly also phoretic, interactions between the swimmer and the six neighbouring colloids. Motile E. coli bacteria behave very differently in the same colloidal crystal: their circular orbits on plain glass are rectified into long, straight runs, because the bacteria are unable to turn corners inside the crystal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-140
Number of pages10
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number1
Early online date25 Sep 2015
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2016


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