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Emergence and melting of active vortex crystals

Title data

James, Martin ; Suchla, Dominik A. ; Dunkel, Jörn ; Wilczek, Michael:
Emergence and melting of active vortex crystals.
In: Nature Communications. Vol. 12 (2021) . - No. 5630.
ISSN 2041-1723
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-25545-z

Abstract in another language

Melting of two-dimensional (2D) equilibrium crystals, from superconducting vortex lattices to colloidal structures, is a complex phenomenon characterized by the sequential loss of positional and orientational order. Whereas melting processes in passive systems are typically triggered by external heat injection, active matter crystals can self-assemble and melt into an active fluid by virtue of their intrinsic motility and inherent non-equilibrium stresses. Emergent crystal-like order has been observed in recent experiments on suspensions of swimming sperm cells, fast-moving bacteria, Janus colloids, and in embryonic tissues. Yet, despite recent progress in the theoretical description of such systems, the non-equilibrium physics of active crystallization and melting processes is not well understood. Here, we establish the emergence and investigate the melting of self-organized vortex crystals in 2D active fluids using an experimentally validated generalized Toner-Tu theory. Performing hydrodynamic simulations at an unprecedented scale, we identify two distinctly different melting scenarios: a hysteretic discontinuous phase transition and melting through an intermediary hexatic phase, both of which can be controlled by self-propulsion and active stresses. Our analysis further reveals intriguing transient features of active vortex crystals including meta-stable superstructures of opposite spin polarity. Generally, these results highlight the differences and similarities between crystalline phases in active fluids and their equilibrium counterparts.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Mathematics, Physics und Computer Science > Department of Physics > Chair Theoretical Physics I > Chair Theoretical Physics I - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Michael Wilczek
Profile Fields > Advanced Fields > Nonlinear Dynamics
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 500 Science > 530 Physics
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2022 08:28
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2022 08:28
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/67562