Self-assembled magnetic surface swimmers

A. Snezhko, M. Belkin, I. S. Aranson, W. K. Kwok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations

Abstract

We report studies of novel self-assembled magnetic surface swimmers (magnetic snakes) formed from a dispersion of magnetic microparticles at a liquid-air interface and energized by an alternating magnetic field. We show that under certain conditions the snakes spontaneously break the symmetry of surface flows and turn into self-propelled objects. Parameters of the driving magnetic field tune the propulsion velocity of these snakelike swimmers. We find that the symmetry of the surface flows can also be broken in a controlled fashion by attaching a large bead to a magnetic snake (bead-snake hybrid), transforming it into a self-locomoting entity. The observed phenomena have been successfully described by a phenomenological model based on the amplitude equation for surface waves coupled to a large-scale hydrodynamic mean flow equation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number118103
JournalPhysical review letters
Volume102
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 16 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Self-assembled magnetic surface swimmers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this