Engineering Contactless Particle–Particle Interactions in Active Microswimmers

Amir Nourhani, Daniel Brown, Nicholas Pletzer, John G. Gibbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Artificial self-propelled colloidal particles have recently served as effective building blocks for investigating many dynamic behaviors exhibited by nonequilibrium systems. However, most studies have relied upon excluded volume interactions between the active particles. Experimental systems in which the mobile entities interact over long distances in a well-defined and controllable manner are valuable so that new modes of multiparticle dynamics can be studied systematically in the laboratory. Here, a system of self-propelled microscale Janus particles is engineered to have contactless particle–particle interactions that lead to long-range attraction, short-range repulsion, and mutual alignment between adjacent swimmers. The unique modes of motion that arise can be tuned by modulating the system's parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1703910
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number47
StatePublished - Dec 20 2017


  • active matter
  • contactless interactions
  • dipole alignment
  • magnetic Janus particles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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