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The European Physical Journal Special Topics

, Volume 225, Issue 11–12, pp 2065–2077 | Cite as

An introduction to the statistical physics of active matter: motility-induced phase separation and the “generic instability” of active gels

  • Davide Marenduzzo
Open Access
Regular Article Methods and Concepts
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Microswimmers – From Single Particle Motion to Collective Behaviour

Abstract

In this work we review some statistical physics techniques to coarse grain active matter systems, writing down a set of continuum fields which track the evolution of macroscopic fields such as density, momentum, etc. While the method can be applied in general, we will focus here on two simple and by now well-studied, active matter examples. First, we will consider motility-induced phase separation, the phenomenon by which a concentrated suspension of self-propelled particles spontaneously separates into a dense and a dilute phase. Second, we will review the so-called “generic instability” of active gels, which refers to the nonequilibrium phase transition between a quiescent and a spontaneously flowing phase in a concentrated suspension of rodlike active particles. For both these cases, we also outline recent developments in the literature.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Open Access This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Physics and Astronomy, University of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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