September 30, 2021 /

New publication online: The control effort to steer self-propelled microswimmers depends on their morphology: comparing symmetric spherical versus asymmetric L-shaped particles

A recently accepted manuscript "The control effort to steer self-propelled microswimmers depends on their morphology: comparing symmetric spherical versus asymmetric L-shaped particles" has now been published. Julia M. Riede, Christian Holm, Syn Schmitt, Daniel F.B. Haeufle. (DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.201839). This is a joint work with U Tübingen.

Active goal-directed motion requires real-time adjustment of control signals depending on the system’s status, also known as control. The amount of information that needs to be processed depends on the desired motion and control, and on the system’s morphology. The morphology of the system may directly effectuate or support the desired motion. This morphology-based reduction to the neuronal ‘control effort’ can be quantified by a novel information-entropy-based approach. Here, we apply this novel measure of ‘control effort’ to active microswimmers of different morphology. Their motion is a combination of directed deterministic and stochastic motion. In spherical microswimmers, the active propulsion leads to linear velocities. Active propulsion of asymmetric L-shaped particles leads to circular or—on tilted substrates—directed motion. Thus, the difference in shape, i.e. the morphology of the particles, directly influence the motion. Here, we quantify how this morphology can be exploited by control schemes for the purpose of steering the particles towards targets. Using computer simulations, we found in both cases a significantly lower control effort for L-shaped particles. However, certain movements can only be achieved by spherical particles. This demonstrates that a suitably designed microswimmer’s morphology might be exploited to perform specific tasks.

(Link: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.201839)

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