Chiral active hexatics: Giant number fluctuations, waves and destruction of order – Archive ouverte HAL

Ananyo Maitra 1 Martin Lenz 2, 3 Raphael Voituriez 1

Ananyo Maitra, Martin Lenz, Raphael Voituriez. Chiral active hexatics: Giant number fluctuations, waves and destruction of order. Physical Review Letters, American Physical Society, 2020. ⟨hal-03085233⟩

Active materials, composed of internally driven particles, have been shown to have properties that are qualitatively distinct matter at thermal equilibrium. However, most spectacular departures from equilibrium phase behaviour were thought to be confined to systems with polar or nematic asymmetry. In this paper we show that such departures are also displayed in more symmetric phases such as hexatics if in addition the constituent particles have chiral asymmetry. We show that chiral active hexatics whose rotation rate does not depend on density, have giant number fluctuations. If the rotation-rate depends on density, the giant number fluctuations are suppressed due to a novel orientation-density sound mode with a linear dispersion which propagates even in the overdamped limit. However, we demonstrate that beyond a finite but large lengthscale, a chirality and activity-induced relevant nonlinearity invalidates the predictions of the linear theory and destroys the hexatic order. In addition, we show that activity modifies the interactions between defects in the active chiral hexatic phase, making them non-mutual. Finally, to demonstrate the generality of a chiral active hexatic phase we show that it results from the melting of chiral active crystals in finite systems.

  • 1. LJP - Laboratoire Jean Perrin
  • 2. LPTMS - Laboratoire de Physique Théorique et Modèles Statistiques
  • 3. PMMH (UMR_7636) - Physique et mécanique des milieux hétérogenes