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Collective behaviour in active emulsions

Résumé :
Densely packed oil droplets in an aqueous phase form “gel emulsions” which present interesting systems for several reasons. The stabilising surfactant layers of adjacent droplets tend to ’collapse’ to form molecular bilayers. An appropriately matured emulsion can thus be viewed as a scaffold of bilayer membranes separating aqueous compartments. Such systems can be used to build self-assembled soft functional devices. A few examples of the building blocks of such systems are presented. If the aqueous phase is chosen appropriately, for instance by carrying the reactands of a non-linear chemical oscillator (Belouzov-Zhabotinsky reaction), complex autonomous dynamics can be made to take place in larger droplet systems. Furthermore, single droplets of this type show self-sustained locomotion with tunable velocity. These systems allow to study collective behaviour in model systems resembling bacterial colonies and may lead to a better understanding of collective behaviour altogether.


Biographie :
Prof. Dr. Stephan Herminhaus was Professor at the University of Ulm (1999-2003) and is now Director of the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and Professor at the University of Göttingen. His research is dedicated to microscopic processes and mechanisms of self-organisation in physical and biological systems, and to the physics of systems far from thermal equilibrium.

Stephan Herminghaus

Max-Planck-Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization
Bunsenstraße 10
D-37073 Göttingen

Contact : Stephan Herminghaus

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