Pair interaction between two catalytically active colloids

Sharan, Priyanka and Daddi‐Moussa‐Ider, Abdallah and Agudo‐Canalejo, Jaime and Golestanian, Ramin and Simmchen, Juliane (2023) Pair interaction between two catalytically active colloids. Small, 19 (36). 2300817. ISSN 1613-6810 (

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Due to the intrinsically complex non‐equilibrium behavior of the constituents of active matter systems, a comprehensive understanding of their collective properties is a challenge that requires systematic bottom–up characterization of the individual components and their interactions. For self‐propelled particles, intrinsic complexity stems from the fact that the polar nature of the colloids necessitates that the interactions depend on positions and orientations of the particles, leading to a 2d − 1 dimensional configuration space for each particle, in d dimensions. Moreover, the interactions between such non‐equilibrium colloids are generically non‐reciprocal, which makes the characterization even more complex. Therefore, derivation of generic rules that enable us to predict the outcomes of individual encounters as well as the ensuing collective behavior will be an important step forward. While significant advances have been made on the theoretical front, such systematic experimental characterizations using simple artificial systems with measurable parameters are scarce. Here, two different contrasting types of colloidal microswimmers are studied, which move in opposite directions and show distinctly different interactions. To facilitate the extraction of parameters, an experimental platform is introduced in which these parameters are confined on a 1D track. Furthermore, a theoretical model for interparticle interactions near a substrate is developed, including both phoretic and hydrodynamic effects, which reproduces their behavior. For subsequent validation, the degrees of freedom are increased to 2D motion and resulting trajectories are predicted, finding remarkable agreement. These results may prove useful in characterizing the overall alignment behavior of interacting self‐propelling active swimmer and may find direct applications in guiding the design of active‐matter systems involving phoretic and hydrodynamic interactions.