Upcoming Talks

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Playing with Active Matter

Date: Friday, November 10, 2023 11:00 - 12:00
Speaker: Giovanni Volpe (University of Gothenburg)
Location: Moonstone Bldg / Ground floor / Seminar Room F (I24.EG.030f)
Host: Scott Waitukaitis

In the last 20 years, active matter has been a very successful research field, bridging the fundamental physics of nonequilibrium thermodynamics with applications in robotics, biology, and medicine. It deals with active particles, which, differently from passive Brownian particles, can harness energy to generate complex motions and emerging behaviors. Most active-matter experiments are performed with microscopic particles and require the use of advanced microfabrication and microscopy techniques. Here, we propose some macroscopic experiments with active matter employing commercially available toy robots, i.e., the Hexbugs. We demonstrate how they can be easily modified to perform regular and chiral active Brownian motion. Then, we show that they can interact with passive objects present in their environment and, depending on their shape, set them in motion and rotation. Furthermore, we show that obstacles in the environment can be employed to sort them based on their motility and chirality. Finally, we demonstrate the emergence of Casimir-like activity-induced attraction between planar objects in the presence of active particles in the environment.

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