Active colloidal suspensions with controlled interaction rules

1 Ph.D/Postdoctoral positions

The Department of Physics seeks one Ph.D. student or Postdoctoral researcher to work on experiments on collective phenomena in groups of synthetic microswimmers, i.e. suspensions of active colloidal particles. Despite their structural simplicity, such model systems share many phenomena observed in living systems, in particular collective behaviour e.g. swarming or group formation. With a recently developed experimental approach, we are able to impose almost any type of interaction rules between active particles whose motion can be controlled by local laser illumination. With this strategy, we achieve fundamental insights into what information over what distances have to be exchanged between individuals to lead to emergent behaviour. In addition to providing novel insights regarding the origin of collective behaviour in living systems we expect our results to be relevant for communication strategies and design of autonomous microrobots. Experimental experience with optical setups, good knowledge in statistical physics and in particular in programming languages (MatLab) is required.

(Advisor: Clemens Bechinger)