Assemblages of self-propelled particles, often termed active matter, exhibit collective behavior due to competition between neighbor alignment and noise-induced decoherence. However, very little is known of how the quenched (i.e., time-independent) disorder impacts active motion. Here we report on the effects of quenched disorder on the dynamics of self-propelled point particles. We identified three major types of quenched disorder relevant in the context of active matter: random torque, force, and stress. We demonstrate that even in the absence of external fluctuations ("cold active matter"), quenched disorder results in nontrivial dynamic phases not present in their "hot" counterpart. In particular, by analyzing when the equations of motion exhibit a Hamiltonian structure and when attractors may be present, we identify in which scenarios particle trapping, i.e., the asymptotic convergence of particle trajectories to bounded areas in space ("traps"), can and cannot occur. Our study provides new fundamental insights into active systems realized by self-propelled particles on natural and synthetic disordered substrates.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)