Research highlight in Nature Communications

Sensing and communication at the microscale is a challenge for bacteria and other organisms. One mechanism is quorum sensing: through emitting signaling molecules and measuring their concentration, members of a population can get information about the local density. In a collaboration with the Bechinger group in Konstanz, we elucidate the collective dynamics of synthetic swimmers that change their "phenotype" from motile to passive depending on the local concentration.

"Self-organization of active particles by quorum sensing rules" by T. Bäuerle, A. Fischer, T. Speck, and C. Bechinger published in Nat. Commun. 9, 3232 (2018)

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Research highlight in Physical Review Letters

Interactions of colloidal particles can be tuned over a wide range. Truly long-range interactions (like gravity) are possible through solvent flow. In this work we demonstrate that colloidal ion reservoirs produce such flows that are well-described as a conservative potential, predicting the dynamics and structure of clusters of a few particles ("molecules"). Read article...

"Self-assembly of colloidal molecules due to self-generated flow" by R. Niu, T. Palberg, and T. Speck, published in Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 028001 (2017)

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Research highlight in Nature Physics

A study of a composite soft-matter nanomechanical system consisting of a rotating ring of optically trapped colloidal particles confining a set of untrapped colloids demonstrates the possibility of gearwheel-like torque transmission on the nanoscale. Read article...

"Transmission of torque at the nanoscale" by Ian Williams, Erdal C Oguz, Thomas Speck, Paul Bartlett, Hartmut Löwen and C. Patrick Royall


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