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Title: Taming active turbulence with patterned soft interfaces
Author: Guillamat Bassedas, Pau
Ignés i Mullol, Jordi
Sagués i Mestre, Francesc
Keywords: Dinàmica de fluids
Geometria diferencial
Fluid dynamics
Differential geometry
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Abstract: Active matter embraces systems that self-organize at different length and time scales, often exhibiting turbulent flows. Here, we use a quasi-two-dimensional nematically ordered layer of a protein-based active gel to experimentally demonstrate that the geometry of active flows, which we have characterized by means of the statistical distribution of eddy sizes, can be reversibly modified. To this purpose, the active material is prepared in contact with a thermotropic liquid crystal, whose lamellar smectic-A phase tiles the water/oil interface with a lattice of anisotropic domains that feature circular easy-flow directions. The active flow, which arises from the motion of parabolic folds within the filamentous active material, becomes effectively confined into circulating eddies that are in registry with the underlying smectic-A domains. Based on topological arguments applied to the circular confinement, together with well-known properties of the active material, we show that the structure of the active flow is determined by a single intrinsic length scale. The role of this length scale thus reemerges from setting the decay length in the exponential eddy size distribution of the free turbulent regime, to determining the minimum size of circulating eddies featuring a scale-free power law. Our results demonstrate that soft-confinement provides with an invaluable tool to probe the intrinsic length and time scales of active materials, and pave the way for further exploration looking for similarities and differences between active and passive two-dimensional turbulence.
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It is part of: Nature Communications, 2017, vol. 8, num. 564
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ISSN: 2041-1723
Appears in Collections:Articles publicats en revistes (Ciència dels Materials i Química Física)

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