Fluctuations and pattern formation in self-propelled particles

Shradha Mishra, Aparna Baskaran, M. Cristina Marchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

136 Scopus citations

Abstract

We consider a coarse-grained description of a collection of self-propelled particles given by hydrodynamic equations for the density and polarization fields. We find that the ordered moving or flocking state of the system is unstable to spatial fluctuations beyond a threshold set by the self-propulsion velocity of the individual units. In this region, the system organizes itself into an inhomogeneous state of well-defined propagating stripes of flocking particles interspersed with low-density disordered regions. Further, we find that even in the regime where the homogeneous flocking state is stable, the system exhibits large fluctuations in both density and orientational order. We study the hydrodynamic equations analytically and numerically to characterize both regimes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number061916
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Volume81
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 16 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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