Activity-assisted barrier crossing of self-propelled colloids over parallel microgrooves

Yan Wen, Zhihao Li, Haiqin Wang, Jing Zheng, Jinyao Tang, Pik-Yin Lai*, Xinpeng Xu*, Penger Tong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We report a systematic study of the dynamics of self-propelled particles (SPPs) over a one-dimensional periodic potential landscape U0(x), which is fabricated on a microgroove-patterned polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrate. From the measured nonequilibrium probability density function P(x;F0) of the SPPs, we find that the escape dynamics of the slow rotating SPPs across the potential landscape can be described by an effective potential Ueff(x;F0), once the self-propulsion force F0 is included into the potential under the fixed angle approximation. This work demonstrates that the parallel microgrooves provide a versatile platform for a quantitative understanding of the interplay among the self-propulsion force F0, spatial confinement by U0(x), and thermal noise, as well as its effects on activity-assisted escape dynamics and transport of the SPPs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL032601
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


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