Regular Article - Soft Matter
Thermotaxis of Janus particles
Institute for Theoretical Physics, Leipzig University, 04103, Leipzig, Germany
2 Peter Debye Institute for Soft Matter Physics, Leipzig University, 04103, Leipzig, Germany
Accepted: 7 June 2021
Published online: 3 July 2021
The interactions of autonomous microswimmers play an important role for the formation of collective states of motile active matter. We study them in detail for the common microswimmer-design of two-faced Janus spheres with hemispheres made from different materials. Their chemical and physical surface properties may be tailored to fine-tune their mutual attractive, repulsive or aligning behavior. To investigate these effects systematically, we monitor the dynamics of a single gold-capped Janus particle in the external temperature field created by an optically heated metal nanoparticle. We quantify the orientation-dependent repulsion and alignment of the Janus particle and explain it in terms of a simple theoretical model for the induced thermoosmotic surface fluxes. The model reveals that the particle’s angular velocity is solely determined by the temperature profile on the equator between the Janus particle’s hemispheres and their phoretic mobility contrast. The distortion of the external temperature field by their heterogeneous heat conductivity is moreover shown to break the apparent symmetry of the problem.
© The Author(s) 2021
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