Friday, June 28, 2013

1306.6596 (Rodrigo Soto et al.)

Self-Assembled Active Colloidal Molecules    [PDF]

Rodrigo Soto, Ramin Golestanian
Catalytically active colloids maintain non-equilibrium conditions in which they produce and deplete chemicals and hence effectively act as sources and sinks of molecules. The concentration fields resulting from the chemical activity decay as $1/r$ and produce gradients that attract or repel the colloids depending on their surface chemistry and ambient variables. This results in a non-equilibrium analogue of ionic systems, but with the remarkable novel feature of action-reaction symmetry breaking. We study solutions of such chemically active colloids in dilute conditions when they join up to form molecules, and discuss the role of charge neutrality and valence with regards to making "ionic bonds". The molecules could be inert or have spontaneous activity in the form of net translational velocity and spin depending on their symmetry properties and their constituents.
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