A nonequilibrium force can stabilize 2D active nematics

Ananyo Maitra, Pragya Srivastava, M. Cristina Marchetti, Juho S. Lintuvuori, Sriram Ramaswamy, Martin Lenz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Suspensions of actively driven anisotropic objects exhibit distinctively nonequilibrium behaviors, and current theories predict that they are incapable of sustaining orientational order at high activity. By contrast, here we show that nematic suspensions on a substrate can display order at arbitrarily high activity due to a previously unreported, potentially stabilizing active force. This force moreover emerges inevitably in theories of active orientable fluids under geometric confinement. The resulting nonequilibrium ordered phase displays robust giant number fluctuations that cannot be suppressed even by an incompressible solvent. Our results apply to virtually all experimental assays used to investigate the active nematic ordering of self-propelled colloids, bacterial suspensions, and the cytoskeleton and have testable implications in interpreting their nonequilibrium behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6934-6939
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 3 2018


  • Active matter
  • Confined active nematics
  • Living liquid crystals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'A nonequilibrium force can stabilize 2D active nematics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this