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Gravitaxis of asymmetric self-propelled colloidal particles
|Title:||Gravitaxis of asymmetric self-propelled colloidal particles|
|Authors:||ten Hagen, Borge|
show 1 moreBechinger, Clemens
|Date Issued:||Sep 2014|
|Abstract:||Many motile microorganisms adjust their swimming motion relative to the gravitational field
and thus counteract sedimentation to the ground. This gravitactic behaviour is often the
result of an inhomogeneous mass distribution, which aligns the microorganism similar to a
buoy. However, it has been suggested that gravitaxis can also result from a geometric
fore–rear asymmetry, typical for many self-propelling organisms. Despite several attempts, no
conclusive evidence for such an asymmetry-induced gravitactic motion exists. Here, we study
the motion of asymmetric self-propelled colloidal particles which have a homogeneous mass
density and a well-defined shape. In experiments and by theoretical modelling, we demonstrate
that a shape anisotropy alone is sufficient to induce gravitactic motion with either
preferential upward or downward swimming. In addition, also trochoid-like trajectories
transversal to the direction of gravity are observed.
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