Translational and rotational dynamics of a self-propelled Janus probe in crowded environments

L Theeyancheri and S Chaki and N Samanta and R Goswami and R Chelakkot and R Chakrabarti, SOFT MATTER, 16, 8482-8491 (2020).

DOI: 10.1039/d0sm00339e

We computationally investigate the dynamics of a self-propelled Janus probe in crowded environments. The crowding is caused by the presence of viscoelastic polymers or non-viscoelastic disconnected monomers. Our simulations show that the translational as well as rotational mean square displacements have a distinctive three-step growth for fixed values of self-propulsion force, and steadily increase with self- propulsion, irrespective of the nature of the crowder. On the other hand, in the absence of crowders, the rotational dynamics of the Janus probe is independent of self-propulsion force. On replacing the repulsive polymers with sticky ones, translational and rotational mean square displacements of the Janus probe show a sharp drop. Since different faces of a Janus particle interact differently with the environment, we show that the direction of self-propulsion also affects its dynamics. The ratio of long-time translational and rotational diffusivities of the self-propelled probe with a fixed self-propulsion, when plotted against the area fraction of the crowders, passes through a minimum and at higher area fraction merges to its value in the absence of the crowder. This points towards the decoupling of the translational and rotational dynamics of the self-propelled probe at an intermediate area fraction of the crowders. However, such translational-rotational decoupling is absent for passive probes.

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