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Igor Aronson/Argonne Active magnetic colloids. m agnetic particles. oil. novel feature : liquid-liquid interface reduced density contrast/tension →reduction of size new control knobs novel self-assembled structures

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igor aronson argonne active magnetic colloids
Igor Aronson/Argonne Active magnetic colloids

magnetic particles


  • novel feature: liquid-liquid interface
  • reduced density contrast/tension →reduction of size
  • new control knobs
  • novel self-assembled structures

A Snezhko & IAronson, Magnetic Manipulation of Self-Assembled Colloidal Asters, Nature Materials 2011


dispersion relation

l ocalized self assembled magnetic asters
Localized self-assembled magnetic asters
  • two flavors: asters & anti-asters
  • remotely controlled locomotion
  • speed/direction/shape controlled by dc in-plane field (not by the field gradient)

asters anti-asters

aster’s speed vs in-plane dc magnetic field

speed (cm/s)

self-generated flow aster/anti-aster pair


magnetic field (Oe)

self assembled colloidal robots at liquid liquid interface
Self-assembled colloidal robots at liquid-liquid interface

Materials opportunities for soft robotics, George Whitesides, AngChem 2011:

materials with actively tunable compliance … enable fundamentally new strategies for manipulation

  • perform simple robotic functions (gripper)
  • remotely controlled by dc in-plane magn field
  • shape change and self-repair

4 aster-array: new functionality

“soft” colloidal robot: grip, move, release

1 mm

YouTube Movie

YouTube Movie

Energy.gov: Tiny Terminators: New Micro-Robots Assemble, Repair Themselves and Are Surprisingly Strong

youtube views>100,000

unique gpu modeling capabilities at argonne
Unique GPU Modeling Capabilities at Argonne

hive.msd.anl.gov GPU cluster

Nvidia GTX 480

ngene, 4 GPUs cluster,

  • 3D hydrostatic Navier-Stokes equation
  • liquid-liquid system

-novel features: toroidal flows in the bulk

-modeling of asters and array of asters

MSD GPU cluster, BES DOE capital equipment (42 Fermi GPU cards, 50 TFlops, single precision)

igor aronson argonne simple bacterial machines
Igor Aronson, Argonne: Simple Bacterial Machines
  • second law of thermodynamics prohibits rectification of Brownian motion
  • bacteria live in out-of-equilibrium world and thus can extract useful energy
  • important step for the design of hybrid bio-mechanical systems powered by microorganisms or synthetic swimmers

1 mm

YouTube Movie

YouTube Movie

featured in NY Times,Forbes, Wired, SciAmerican

highlighted as Argonne’s major success in 2010

YouTube > 100,000 views

  • 1-2 rotations per minute
  • mass of the gear ~ 106 mass of bacterium
  • power of about 1 femtowatt=10-15 Watt
  • about 300 bacteria power the gear

Sokolov, Apodaca, Grzybowski, I. Aronson, PNAS, 2010

next step swimmers assisted assembly preliminary results
Next step:swimmers-assisted assemblypreliminary results
  • swimming bacteria spin microscopic gears
  • self-assembled primitive machines – gears assembly
  • can bacteria assemble gears from properly functionalized units?
  • massive parallel approach to assemble thousands of microscopic structure

magnetically-controlled micro-shuttle powered by bacteria

gears assembly

500 mm

100 mm

alber research group bacteria experiments and simulations
Alber Research group bacteria Experiments and Simulations
  • Image analysis of bacteria movies
    • Cell Segmentation and tracking
    • Illumination of Cell “slime tracks”
  • Observations include:
    • Cell division
    • Slime Track navigation by cells
      • Cells Turning to follow tracks
      • Cells bending as the move along tracks
    • Cell Clutsers Dynamics
      • Bending and Cell Oreintation in groups of cells
  • Simulations of rod-shaped bacteria moving on surfaces
cell division
Cell Division

Preliminary data suggests that cells stall during division. (Yellow arrow highlight additional time between frames during division. Red arrow point to septum forming)

Questions: How does polarity of mother cell relate to daughter cells?

Does phase of reversal period get passed to daughter cells?

cell turn on slime tracks
Cell Turn on Slime Tracks

M. xanthus is known to produce slime tracks when gliding on agar.

By highlighting cell trajectories, cell-slime track locations can be visualized and cell-track interactions can be analyzed

Questions: How much turning can cells undergo to get onto track?

detailed segmentation can analyze cell bending on slime tracks
Detailed Segmentation can analyze cell bending on Slime Tracks

Segmentation of raw image data is processed to form meshes on each cell. The mesh can be used to extract a central line that can be analyzed for bending of cells during collisions or during cell-trail interaction.

cell bending and orientation in clusters
Cell Bending and Orientation in Clusters

We are also interested in cell bending and cell orientation and spatial ordering as cells dynamical form and move as groups.

sub cellular elements simulations
Sub-Cellular Elements Simulations

Simulation Movie Link (http://biomath.math.nd.edu/compbio/CellSim4.gif)

Simulations are being run to study flexibility, adhesion and cell reversals on cell clustering dynamics. Also, simulations that look at cell–slime track interaction are being run by coupling cells to a 2D substrate that simulates slime trails left by cells. (Slime not shown, but the 2d grid represents the scaler field discretization)

simulations prospects for aneromyxobacter
Simulations prospects for Aneromyxobacter
  • Model for Rod Shaped bacteria moving on surfaces is established.
  • The substrate can be created to simulated Iron-hydroxide substrate or other environments to simulate chemical reactions at positions of cells.