April 1, 2017 at 7:15 pm

CMSS Colloquium | Geometric Control of Pattern Formation in Elastic Materials and Active Fluids, April 20

The Condensed Matter & Surface Sciences Colloquium Series presents Jörn Dunkel of Massachusetts Institute of Technology on “Geometric Control of Pattern Formation in Elastic Materials and Active Fluids” on Thursday, April 20, at 4:10 p.m. in Walter 245.

Jörn Dunkel

Jörn Dunkel

Abstract: Geometric constraints can profoundly affect pattern selection and topological defect formation in equilibrium and non-equilibrium systems. In this talk, I will summarize recent experimental and theoretical work that aims to understand (i) how substrate curvature controls symmetry breaking and defect statistics in elastic surface crystals, and (ii) how confinement geometry affects pontaneous flows of microbial suspensions. Our results show that minimal higher-order PDE models can accurately capture the experimentally observed pattern formation transitions in these systems. We first describe phenomenological parallels between 2D elastic and colloidal crystals on spherical surfaces that suggest some universality in the underlying nucleation processes.  Subsequently, we demonstrate how microbial flow patterns can be controlled by microstructure to realize bacterial spin lattices. Building on these insights, we can propose designs of active flow networks to implement logical operations in autonomous microfluidic transport devices.

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