Large-scale collective properties of self-propelled rods

Phys Rev Lett. 2010 May 7;104(18):184502. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.104.184502. Epub 2010 May 4.


We study, in two space dimensions, the collective properties of constant-speed polar point particles interacting locally by nematic alignment in the presence of noise. This minimal approach to self-propelled rods allows one to deal with large numbers of particles, which exhibit a rich phenomenology distinctively different from all other known models for self-propelled particles. Extensive simulations reveal long-range nematic order, phase separation, and space-time chaos mediated by large-scale segregated structures.