Active Smart Matter


The design of smart active materials with micrometer-range constitutents and biologically inspired behaviors, opens up new pathways for the development of diverse customized applications, helping also to provide a deeper understanding of fascinating collective behaviors, such as swarming, swirling, or directed transport. We use and develop mesoscale computational approaches to investigate the intrinsic properties of various active systems.

Research Topics

Active matter is characterized by having one or more of its constituents elements able to move.  Active systems are intrinsically out-of-equilibrium and can display a formidably rich phenomenology, which can largely differ from their non-active counterparts. Nature provides myriads of examples of active systems across length scales such as flocks of birds, bacteria motion, or molecular motors. An important challenge is to find ways of obtaining synthetic materials with active micrometer scale components to enable the development of new smart active materials with customised purposes and applications in nanomedical drug delivery, tissue developers, or microfluidic devices.

One of the most extended strategies to build micrometer-sized swimmers is the use of phoretic materials, which can be actuated in the presence of gradients in the surrounding solvent induced by providing chemical or light signals. Other solutions  are the use of magnetic or dielectric particles actuated with external fields, or very differently the use of enzymatic processes. The aim of our work is to employ state of-the-art computer simulations to explore the behaviour of systems such as phoretic colloidal systems or activated magnetic rotors at different configurations. The behaviour of these systems can therefore be controlled by changing various factors such as the propulsion mechanisms, the solvent properties, the self-propelled particles sizes and shapes, the confinement constrains, and very importantly also by the presice time and spatial control of where activity is induced. Of particular interest is also the case of systems where quorum sensing or visual-like interactions play a key role. In this biologically inspired systems the individual swimmming behavior changes depending on the local conditions largely increasing the systems capacity to adapt to internal and external agents.


Dr. Marisol Ripoll


Building 04.16 / Room 2011

+49 2461/61-5773


Aktive intelligente Materie

Methods and infrastructures used

Mesoscopic models, hydrodynamics, computer simulations, high-performance computing JURECA, JUWELS

Group Members

No results found.


Odd viscosity and active turbulence of chiral active systems

Prof. Dr. Yongxiang Gao, Shenzhen University, China

Prof. Dr. Dirk Aarts, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

M.Sc. Joscha Mecke, IBI-5, Forschungszentrum Jülich

Polar active polymer melts

Prof. Dr. Jorge Ramírez García, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain

M.Sc. Andrés Tejedor Reyes, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain

Colloidal swarming controlled by quorum sensing dependent motility

M.Sc. Rodrigo Saavedra Estrada, IBI-5, Forschungszentrum Jülich

Phoretic active and chiral colloids

News Reports

(online news, press releases or other media contributions)

Theoretical Prediction for Ring Polymers under Shear Experimentally Confirmed

Press release, Forschungszentrum Jülich, 20.11.2020


Last Modified: 14.06.2024