Suspensions of motile bacteria or synthetic microswimmers, termed active matter, manifest a remarkable propensity for self-organization, and formation of large-scale coherent structures. Most active matter research deals with almost homogeneous in space systems and little is known about the dynamics of strongly heterogeneous active matter. Here we report on experimental and theoretical studies on the expansion of highly concentrated bacterial droplets into an ambient bacteria-free fluid. The droplet is formed beneath a rapidly rotating solid macroscopic particle inserted in the suspension. We observe vigorous instability of the droplet reminiscent of a violent explosion. The phenomenon is explained in terms of continuum first-principle theory based on the swim pressure concept. Our findings provide insights into the dynamics of active matter with strong density gradients and significantly expand the scope of experimental and analytic tools for control and manipulation of active systems.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Chemistry
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Physics and Astronomy