Active matter

Living matter is inherently active, and out of equilibrium. We have been searching for novel self-assembled structures which can be achieved in active, energy-driven,  systems, but that have not been observed in equilibrium systems. For example, we have shown that self-propelling attractive spherical particles can form fluid–like “living” clusters which dynamically grow and shrink, a property usually attributed to living systems. Their emergence can be explained and quantified in terms of the balance between active forces and regression to thermodynamic equilibrium.


  1. A. Mallory, A. Šarić, C. Valeriani and A. Cacciuto. Anomalous thermomechanical properties of a self-propelled colloidal fluid. Phys. Rev. E 89, 052303 (2014).
  2. M. Mognetti§, A. Šarić§, S. Angioletti-Uberti, A. Cacciuto, C. Valeriani, and D. Frenkel. Living clusters and crystals from low densities suspensions of active colloids. Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 245702 (2013). (Editor’s suggestion. Highlighted in Physics Focus.)