Spontaneous polarization and locomotion of an active particle with surface-mobile enzymes
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We examine a mechanism of locomotion of active particles whose surface is uniformly coated with mobile enzymes. The enzymes catalyze a reaction that drives phoretic flows but their homogeneous distribution forbids locomotion by symmetry. We find that the ability of the enzymes to migrate over the surface combined with self-phoresis can lead to a spontaneous symmetry-breaking instability whereby the homogeneous distribution of enzymes polarizes and the particle propels. The instability is driven by the advection of enzymes by the phoretic flows and occurs above a critical Péclet number. The transition to polarized motile states occurs via a supercritical or subcritical pitchfork bifurcations, the latter of which enables hysteresis and coexistence of uniform and polarized states.
CitationDe Corato, M. [et al.]. Spontaneous polarization and locomotion of an active particle with surface-mobile enzymes. "Physical review fluids", 17 Desembre 2020, vol. 5, núm. 12, p. 122001:1-122001:11.