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Journal Articles Physical Review Letters Year : 2018

Spontaneously Flowing Crystal of Self-Propelled Particles

Guillaume Briand
  • Function : Author
Michael Schindler
Olivier Dauchot


We experimentally and numerically study the structure and dynamics of a monodisperse packing of spontaneously aligning self-propelled hard disks. The packings are such that their equilibrium counterparts form perfectly ordered hexagonal structures. Experimentally, we first form a perfect crystal in a hexagonal arena which respects the same crystalline symmetry. Frustration of the hexagonal order, obtained by removing a few particles, leads to the formation of a rapidly diffusing “droplet.” Removing more particles, the whole system spontaneously forms a macroscopic sheared flow, while conserving an overall crystalline structure. This flowing crystalline structure, which we call a “rheocrystal,” is made possible by the condensation of shear along localized stacking faults. Numerical simulations very well reproduce the experimental observations and allow us to explore the parameter space. They demonstrate that the rheocrystal is induced neither by frustration nor by noise. They further show that larger systems flow faster while still remaining ordered.
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hal-01916201 , version 1 (08-11-2018)



Guillaume Briand, Michael Schindler, Olivier Dauchot. Spontaneously Flowing Crystal of Self-Propelled Particles. Physical Review Letters, 2018, 120 (20), ⟨10.1103/physrevlett.120.208001⟩. ⟨hal-01916201⟩
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