Driven dynamics in dense suspensions of microrollers

Brennan Sprinkle, Ernest B. Van Der Wee, Yixiang Luo, Michelle M. Driscoll, Aleksandar Donev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We perform detailed computational and experimental measurements of the driven dynamics of a dense, uniform suspension of sedimented microrollers driven by a magnetic field rotating around an axis parallel to the floor. We develop a lubrication-corrected Brownian dynamics method for dense suspensions of driven colloids sedimented above a bottom wall. The numerical method adds lubrication friction between nearby pairs of particles, as well as particles and the bottom wall, to a minimally-resolved model of the far-field hydrodynamic interactions. Our experiments combine fluorescent labeling with particle tracking to trace the trajectories of individual particles in a dense suspension, and to measure their propulsion velocities. Previous computational studies [B. Sprinkle et al., J. Chem. Phys., 2017, 147, 244103] predicted that at sufficiently high densities a uniform suspension of microrollers separates into two layers, a slow monolayer right above the wall, and a fast layer on top of the bottom layer. Here we verify this prediction, showing good quantitative agreement between the bimodal distribution of particle velocities predicted by the lubrication-corrected Brownian dynamics and those measured in the experiments. The computational method accurately predicts the rate at which particles are observed to switch between the slow and fast layers in the experiments. We also use our numerical method to demonstrate the important role that pairwise lubrication plays in motility-induced phase separation in dense monolayers of colloidal microrollers, as recently suggested for suspensions of Quincke rollers [D. Geyer et al., Phys. Rev. X, 2019, 9(3), 031043].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7982-8001
Number of pages20
JournalSoft Matter
Issue number34
StatePublished - Sep 14 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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