Motility of active droplets in lipid systems

Dhanya Babu

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

457 Downloads (Pure)


In nature, microorganisms and cells have evolved sophisticated protein machinery that enables them to move effectively towards favorable conditions that ensure their survival. To engineer artificial compartments mimicking motile behavior observed in nature requires these compartments to move autonomously, discern their environment, and adapt their movement in response to external triggers such as light and chemicals. This thesis shows that microscopic oil droplets can develop complex motile functions through the interplay between molecular reactivity and physical processes occurring at the microscopic scale. By coupling chemical reactions to interfacial tension gradients, we show that droplets evolve adaptive motility where the motile speed and trajectory alter in response to external triggers such as light and chemical fuel. Such adaptiveness results in complex motile patterns, enhancement of lipid-producing reaction through chemo-motile coupling, and light-triggered shape morphogenesis.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Katsonis, Nathalie, Supervisor
  • Browne, Wesley, Supervisor
Award date25-Oct-2022
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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