Collective Motion and Pattern Formation in Phase-Synchronizing Active Fluids

Brato Chakrabarti, Michael J. Shelley, Sebastian Fürthauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many active particles, such as swimming micro-organisms or motor proteins, do work on their environment by going though a periodic sequence of shapes. Interactions between particles can lead to synchronization of their duty cycles. Here, we study the collective dynamics of a suspension of active particles coupled through hydrodynamics. We find that at high enough density the system transitions to a state of collective motion by a mechanism that is distinct from other instabilities in active matter systems. Second, we demonstrate that the emergent nonequilibrium states feature stationary chimera patterns in which synchronized and phase-isotropic regions coexist. Third, we show that in confinement, oscillatory flows and robust unidirectional pumping states exist, and can be selected by choice of alignment boundary conditions. These results point toward a new route to collective motion and pattern formation and could guide the design of new active materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number128202
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 24 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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