Chirality is a recurrent theme in the study of biological systems, in which active processes are driven by the internal conversion of chemical energy into work. Bacterial flagella, actomyosin filaments, and microtubule bundles are active systems that are also intrinsically chiral. Despite some exploratory attempt to capture the relations between chirality and motility, many features of intrinsically chiral systems still need to be explored and explained. To address this gap in knowledge, here we study the effects of internal active forces and torques on a 3-dimensional (3D) droplet of cholesteric liquid crystal (CLC) embedded in an isotropic liquid. We consider tangential anchoring of the liquid crystal director at the droplet surface. Contrary to what happens in nematics, where moderate extensile activity leads to droplet rotation, cholesteric active droplets exhibit more complex and variegated behaviors. We find that extensile force dipole activity stabilizes complex defect configurations, in which orbiting dynamics couples to thermodynamic chirality to propel screw-like droplet motion. Instead, dipolar torque activity may either tighten or unwind the cholesteric helix and if tuned, can power rotations with an oscillatory angular velocity of 0 mean.

Rotation and propulsion in 3D active chiral droplets

Carenza L. N.;Gonnella G.;
2019

Abstract

Chirality is a recurrent theme in the study of biological systems, in which active processes are driven by the internal conversion of chemical energy into work. Bacterial flagella, actomyosin filaments, and microtubule bundles are active systems that are also intrinsically chiral. Despite some exploratory attempt to capture the relations between chirality and motility, many features of intrinsically chiral systems still need to be explored and explained. To address this gap in knowledge, here we study the effects of internal active forces and torques on a 3-dimensional (3D) droplet of cholesteric liquid crystal (CLC) embedded in an isotropic liquid. We consider tangential anchoring of the liquid crystal director at the droplet surface. Contrary to what happens in nematics, where moderate extensile activity leads to droplet rotation, cholesteric active droplets exhibit more complex and variegated behaviors. We find that extensile force dipole activity stabilizes complex defect configurations, in which orbiting dynamics couples to thermodynamic chirality to propel screw-like droplet motion. Instead, dipolar torque activity may either tighten or unwind the cholesteric helix and if tuned, can power rotations with an oscillatory angular velocity of 0 mean.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/249866
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