Repository logo

Pattern formation in chemically interacting active rotors with self-propulsion

Published version

Change log


Liebchen, B 
Cates, ME 
Marenduzzo, D 


We demonstrate that active rotations in chemically signalling particles, such as autochemotactic E. coli close to walls, create a route for pattern formation based on a nonlinear yet deterministic instability mechanism. For slow rotations, we find a transient persistence of the uniform state, followed by a sudden formation of clusters contingent on locking of the average propulsion direction by chemotaxis. These clusters coarsen, which results in phase separation into a dense and a dilute region. Faster rotations arrest phase separation leading to a global travelling wave of rotors with synchronized roto-translational motion. Our results elucidate the physics resulting from the competition of two generic paradigms in active matter, chemotaxis and active rotations, and show that the latter provides a tool to design programmable self-assembly of active matter, for example to control coarsening.



0202 Atomic, Molecular, Nuclear, Particle and Plasma Physics

Journal Title

Soft Matter

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



Royal Society of Chemistry
Royal Society (RP080053)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/J007404/1)
Marie Skłodowska Curie (Intra European Fellowship within Horizon 2020 (Grant ID: 654908)), Royal Society, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council