Anomalous segregation dynamics of self-propelled particles

New J Phys. 2015 Jun;17(6):063013. doi: 10.1088/1367-2630/17/6/063013. Epub 2015 Jun 10.


A number of novel experimental and theoretical results have recently been obtained on active soft matter, demonstrating the various interesting universal and anomalous features of this kind of driven systems. Here we consider the adhesion difference-driven segregation of actively moving units, a fundamental but still poorly explored aspect of collective motility. In particular, we propose a model in which particles have a tendency to adhere through a mechanism which makes them both stay in touch and synchronize their direction of motion - but the interaction is limited to particles of the same kind. The calculations corresponding to the related differential equations can be made in parallel, thus a powerful GPU card allows large scale simulations. We find that in a very large system of particles, interacting without explicit alignment rule, three basic segregation regimes seem to exist as a function of time: i) at the beginning the time dependence of the correlation length is analogous to that predicted by the Cahn-Hillard theory, ii) next rapid segregation occurs characterized with a separation of the different kinds of units being faster than any previously suggested speed, finally, iii) the growth of the characteristic sizes in the system slows down due to a new regime in which self-confined, rotating, splitting and re-joining clusters appear. Our results can explain recent observations of segregating tissue cells in vitro.

Keywords: cell segregation; dynamical exponents; nonequilibrium; spp model.