Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird … It's a plane … It's active matter! Like birds and planes (and superman), a core feature of "active matter" systems is their ability to move, to self-propel, to be active. By virtue of their self-motion, active matter systems of all scales trace out a trajectory similar to that of a drunken person: straight, directed movements punctuated by sudden changes in direction. This drunken trajectory engenders a unique mechanical "swim pressure" that dictates the motion and collective behavior of active matter. We provide experimental proof of this new concept by trapping active microswimmers in various degrees of confinement in both external acoustic traps and in phospholipid liposomes. We fabricate soft, flexible materials that can expand, elongate, and/or steer on command by loading the material with swimming microorganisms and self-propelled synthetic particles. These materials may one day be used to create micro- or nanomechanical devices and motors that could have multiple applications in medicine (e.g., focused drug delivery), biophysics, microelectronics, and other fields.
Refreshments available prior to the lecture.
The Everhart Lecture Series is a forum encouraging interdisciplinary interaction among graduate students and faculty, the sharing of ideas about research developments, as well as a space to discuss controversies. Everhart Lectures allow for the recognition of individual Caltech student's exemplary presentation and research abilities. Lecturers discuss scientific topics and research topics of concern to graduate students and faculty.
Each Fall, graduate student lecturers are selected to present their ideas as part of a series of lectures.