Hydrodynamic synchronisation of optically driven rotors

Luke J. Debono, Stuart Box, David B. Phillips, Stephen H. Simpson, Simon Hanna

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Hydrodynamic coupling is thought to play a role in the coordinated beating of cilia and flagella, and may inform the future design of artificial swimmers and pumps. In this study, optical tweezers are used to investigate the hydrodynamic coupling between a pair of driven oscillators. The theoretical model of Lenz and Ryskin [P. Lenz and A. Ryskin, Phys. Biol. 3, 285{294 (2006)] is experimentally recreated, in which each oscillator consists of a sphere driven in a circular trajectory. The optical trap position is maintained ahead of the sphere to provide a tangential driving force. The trap is also moved radially to harmonically constrain the sphere to the circular trajectory. Analytically, it has been shown that two oscillators of this type are able to synchronise or phase-lock under certain conditions. We explore the interplay between synchronisation mechanisms and find good agreement between experiment, theory and Brownian dynamics simulations.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XII
PublisherSociety of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)
ISBN (Electronic)9781628417142, 9781628417142
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XII - San Diego, United States
Duration: 9 Aug 201512 Aug 2015


ConferenceOptical Trapping and Optical Micromanipulation XII
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • Brownian dynamics simulation
  • hydrodynamic synchronisation
  • Optical tweezers


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