Scattering of biflagellate micro-swimmers from surfaces

26 Sep 2017

We use a three-bead-spring model to investigate the dynamics of bi-flagellate micro-swimmers near a surface. While the primary dynamics and scattering are governed by geometric-dependent direct contact, the fluid flows generated by the swimmer locomotion are important in orienting it toward or away from the surface. Flagellar noise and in particular cell spinning about the main axis help a surface-trapped swimmer escape, whereas the time a swimmer spends at the surface depends on the incident angle. The dynamics results from a nuanced interplay of direct collisions, hydrodynamics, noise and the swimmer geometry. We show that to correctly capture the dynamics of a bi-flagellate swimmer, minimal models need to resolve the shape asymmetry.