Trapping flocking particles with asymmetric obstacles

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Royal Soc Chemistry
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Asymmetric obstacles can be exploited to direct the motion and induce sorting of run-and-tumble particles. In this work, we show that flocking particles which follow the Vicsek model aligning rules experience collective trapping in the presence of a wall of funnels made of chevrons, concentrating at the opposite side of the wall of funnels to run-and-tumble particles. Flocking particles can be completely trapped or exhibit a dynamical trapping behaviour; these two regimes open the door to the design of a system with two perpendicular flows of active particles. This systematic study broadens our understanding of the emergence of collective motion of microorganisms in confined environments and directs the design of new microfluidic devices able to control these collective behaviours.
The authors acknowledge funding from Grant FIS2016-78847-P of the MICINN UCM/Santander PR26/16-10B-2 and the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT, Mexico) through Grant No. 242589. F. A. acknowledges support from the Juan de la Cierva program (FJCI-2017-33580). The project that gave rise to these results received the support of a fellowship from "la Caixa'' Foundation (ID 100010434). The fellowship code is LCF/BQ/LI18/11630021. R. M. thanks MICINN for the award of a FPI pre-doctoral grant (BES-2017-081108) and J. L. A. acknowledges the support of the IFIMAC (MDM-2014-0377) and NVIDIA corporation with the donation of the Titan Xp GPU used for this research.
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