Swimming droplets driven by a surface wave

Hiroyuki Ebata, Masaki Sano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Self-propelling motion is ubiquitous for soft active objects such as crawling cells, active filaments, and liquid droplets moving on surfaces. Deformation and energy dissipation are required for self-propulsion of both living and non-living matter. From the perspective of physics, searching for universal laws of self-propelled motions in a dissipative environment is worthwhile, regardless of the objects' details. In this article, we propose a simple experimental system that demonstrates spontaneous migration of a droplet under uniform mechanical agitation. As we vary control parameters, spontaneous symmetry breaking occurs sequentially, and cascades of bifurcations of the motion arise. Equations describing deformable particles and hydrodynamic simulations successfully describe all of the observed motions. This system should enable us to improve our understanding of spontaneous motions of self-propelled objects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8546
JournalScientific reports
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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