Generic Long-Range Interactions between Passive Bodies in an Active Fluid

Yongjoo Baek, Alexandre P. Solon, Xinpeng Xu, Nikolai Nikola, Yariv Kafri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


A single nonspherical body placed in an active fluid generates currents via breaking of time-reversal symmetry. We show that, when two or more passive bodies are placed in an active fluid, these currents lead to long-range interactions. Using a multipole expansion, we characterize their leading-order behaviors in terms of single-body properties and show that they decay as a power law with the distance between the bodies, are anisotropic, and do not obey an action-reaction principle. The interactions lead to rich dynamics of the bodies, illustrated by the spontaneous synchronized rotation of pinned nonchiral bodies and the formation of traveling bound pairs. The occurrence of these phenomena depends on tunable properties of the bodies, thus opening new possibilities for self-assembly mediated by active fluids.

Original languageEnglish
Article number058002
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - 31 Jan 2018


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