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Field # Construction
Updated 29 October 2020



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Description Whereas self-propelled hard discs undergo motility-induced phase separation, self-propelled rods exhibit a variety of nonequilibrium phenomena, including clustering, collective motion, and spatio-temporal chaos. In this work, we present a theoretical framework representing active particles by continuum fields. This concept combines the simplicity of alignment-based models, enabling analytical studies, and realistic models that incorporate the shape of self-propelled objects explicitly. By varying particle shape from circular to ellipsoidal, we show how nonequilibrium stresses acting among self-propelled rods destabilize motility-induced phase separation and facilitate orientational ordering, thereby connecting the realms of scalar and vectorial active matter. Though the interaction potential is strictly apolar, both, polar and nematic order may emerge and even coexist. Accordingly, the symmetry of ordered states is a dynamical property in active matter. The presented framework may represent various systems including bacterial colonies, cytoskeletal extracts, or shaken granular media. Interacting self-propelled particles exhibit phase separation or collective motion depending on particle shape. A unified theory connecting these paradigms represents a major challenge in active matter, which the authors address here by modeling active particles as continuum fields.

Field # Construction
Updated 23 October 2020