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Swarming in Shallow Waters

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journal contribution
posted on 16.12.2015, 18:45 by Siowling Soh, Michal Branicki, Bartosz A. Grzybowski
A swarm is a collection of separate objects that move autonomously in the same direction in a concerted fashion. This type of behavior is observed in ensembles of various organisms but has proven inherently difficult to realize in artificial chemical systems, where the components have to self-assemble dynamically and, at the same time, propel themselves. This paper describes a class of systems in which millimeter-sized components interact hydrodynamically and organize into dissipative structures that swarm in thin fluid layers. Depending on the geometry of the particles, various types of swarms can be engineered, including ensembles that rotate, follow a “leader”, or are pushed in front of a larger particle.