Enzymatic "machines," such as catalytic rods or colloids, can self-propel and interact by generating gradients of their substrates. We theoretically investigate the behaviors of such machines in a chemically active environment where their catalytic substrates are continuously synthesized and destroyed, as occurs in living cells. We show how the kinetic properties of the medium modulate self-propulsion and pairwise interactions between machines, with the latter controlled by a tunable characteristic interaction range analogous to the Debye screening length in an electrolytic solution. Finally, we discuss the effective force arising between interacting machines and possible biological applications, such as partitioning of bacterial plasmids.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Statistics and Probability
- Condensed Matter Physics