Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Stochastic Hydrodynamic Synchronization in Rotating Energy Landscapes

N. Koumakis and R. Di Leonardo

Hydrodynamic synchronization provides a general mechanism for the spontaneous emergence of coherent beating states in independently driven mesoscopic oscillators. A complete physical picture of those phenomena is of definite importance to the understanding of biological cooperative motions of cilia and flagella. Moreover, it can potentially suggest novel routes to exploit synchronization in technological applications of soft matter. We demonstrate that driving colloidal particles in rotating energy landscapes results in a strong tendency towards synchronization, favoring states where all beads rotate in phase. The resulting dynamics can be described in terms of activated jumps with transition rates that are strongly affected by hydrodynamics leading to an increased probability and lifetime of the synchronous states. Using holographic optical tweezers we quantitatively verify our predictions in a variety of spatial configurations of rotors.

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