Self-running droplet: emergence of regular motion from nonequilibrium noise

Phys Rev Lett. 2005 Feb 18;94(6):068301. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.94.068301. Epub 2005 Feb 14.


Spontaneous motion of an oil droplet driven by nonequilibrium chemical conditions is reported. It is shown that the droplet undergoes regular rhythmic motion under appropriately designed boundary conditions, whereas it exhibits random motion in an isotropic environment. This study is a novel manifestation on the direct energy transformation of chemical energy into regular spatial motion under isothermal conditions. A simple mathematical equation including noise reproduces the essential feature of the transition from irregularity into periodic regular motion. Our results will inspire the theoretical study on the mechanism of molecular motors in living matter, working under significant influence of thermal fluctuation.