Controlling local order of athermal self-propelled particles

Niahm Dougan, Peter Crowther, C. Patrick Royall, Francesco Turci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
256 Downloads (Pure)


We consider a model of self-propelled dynamics for athermal active particles, where the non-equilibrium active forces are modelled by a Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process. In the limit of no-driving force, the model reduces to the passive, Brownian dynamics of an atomistic glass forming fluid, the Wahnstr\"om binary mixture. The Wahnstr\"om mixture is known to show strong correlations between the emergence of slow dynamics and the formation of locally favoured structures based on icosahedra. Here, we study how the non-equilibrium forces affect the local structure of the system, and find that these strongly promote icosahedral order. The phases rich in local icosahedral order correspond to configurations of very low potential energy, suggesting that the non-equilibrium dynamics in the self propelled model can be effectively exploited to explore the potential energy surface of the binary mixture and have access to states that are difficult to attain using passive dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number124001
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2016


  • active matter
  • glasses

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