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.
- A. Mallory, A. Šarić, C. Valeriani and A. Cacciuto. Anomalous thermomechanical properties of a self-propelled colloidal fluid. Phys. Rev. E 89, 052303 (2014).
- 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.)