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A microscopic field theory for crystallization in active systems is proposed which unifies the phase-field-crystal model of freezing with the Toner-Tu theory for self-propelled particles. A wealth of different active crystalline states are predicted and characterized. In particular, for increasing strength of self-propulsion, a transition from a resting crystal to a traveling crystalline state is found where the particles migrate collectively while keeping their crystalline order. Our predictions, which are verifiable in experiments and in particle-resolved computer simulations, provide a starting point for the design of new active materials.


Andreas M Menzel, Hartmut Löwen. Traveling and resting crystals in active systems. Physical review letters. 2013 Feb 1;110(5):055702

PMID: 23414036

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