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Probing the Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Catalytic Janus Particles with Single-Particle Tracking and Differential Dynamic Microscopy

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Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2018


We demonstrate differential dynamic microscopy and particle tracking for the characterization of the spatiotemporal behavior of active Janus colloids in terms of the intermediate scattering function (ISF). We provide an analytical solution for the ISF of the paradigmatic active Brownian particle model and find striking agreement with experimental results from the smallest length scales, where translational diffusion and self-propulsion dominate, up to the largest ones, which probe effective diffusion due to rotational Brownian motion. At intermediate length scales, characteristic oscillations resolve the crossover between directed motion to orientational relaxation and allow us to discriminate active Brownian motion from other reorientation processes, e.g., run-and-tumble motion. A direct comparison to theoretical predictions reliably yields the rotational and translational diffusion coefficients of the particles, the mean and width of their speed distribution, and the temporal evolution of these parameters.

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