Phoretic Interactions Generically Induce Dynamic Clusters and Wave Patterns in Active Colloids.

04 Dec 2017

We introduce a representative minimal model for phoretically interacting active colloids. Combining kinetic theory, linear stability analyses, and a general relation between self-propulsion and phoretic interactions in autodiffusiophoretic and autothermophoretic Janus colloids collapses the parameter space from six to two dimensionless parameters: area fraction and Péclet number. This collapse arises when the lifetime of the self-generated phoretic fields is not too short, and leads to a universal phase diagram showing that phoretic interactions generically induce pattern formation in typical Janus colloids, even at very low density. The resulting patterns include waves and dynamic aggregates closely resembling the living clusters found in experiments on dilute suspension of Janus colloids.