Large-scale chaos and fluctuations in active nematics

Sandrine Ngo, Anton Peshkov, Igor S. Aranson, Eric Bertin, Francesco Ginelli, Hugues Chaté

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76 Scopus citations


We show that dry active nematics, e.g., collections of shaken elongated granular particles, exhibit large-scale spatiotemporal chaos made of interacting dense, ordered, bandlike structures in a parameter region including the linear onset of nematic order. These results are obtained from the study of both the well-known (deterministic) hydrodynamic equations describing these systems and of the self-propelled particle model they were derived from. We prove, in particular, that the chaos stems from the generic instability of the band solution of the hydrodynamic equations. Revisiting the status of the strong fluctuations and long-range correlations in the particle model, we show that the giant number fluctuations observed in the chaotic phase are a trivial consequence of density segregation. However anomalous, curvature-driven number fluctuations are present in the homogeneous quasiordered nematic phase and characterized by a nontrivial scaling exponent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number038302
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 16 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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