Self-propulsion and interactions of catalytic particles in a chemically active medium

Edward J. Banigan, John F. Marko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number012611
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 25 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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