Dynamics and interactions of Quincke roller clusters: From orbits and flips to excited states

Abraham Mauleon Amieva, Michael P Allen, Tanniemola B Liverpool, C P Royall*

*Corresponding author for this work

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

2 Citations (Scopus)


Active matter systems may be characterized by the conversion of energy into active motion, e.g., the self-propulsion of microorganisms. Artificial active colloids form models that exhibit essential properties of more complex biological systems but are amenable to laboratory experiments. While most experimental models consist of spheres, active particles of different shapes are less understood. Furthermore, interactions between these anisotropic active colloids are even less explored. Here, we investigate the motion of active colloidal clusters and the interactions between them. We focus on self-assembled dumbbells and trimers powered by an external dc electric field. For dumbbells, we observe an activity-dependent behavior of spinning, circular, and orbital motions. Moreover, collisions between dumbbells lead to the hierarchical self-assembly of tetramers and hexamers, both of which form rotational excited states. On the other hand, trimers exhibit flipping motion that leads to trajectories reminiscent of a honeycomb lattice.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbereadf5144
Pages (from-to)eadf5144
JournalScience Advances
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors.


  • active matter
  • colloids
  • out of equilibrium dynamics


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