Nature Communications, 11(2210), May 2020 (article)
Symmetry breaking and the emergence of self-organized patterns is the hallmark of com-
plexity. Here, we demonstrate that a sessile drop, containing titania powder particles with
negligible self-propulsion, exhibits a transition to collective motion leading to self-organized
ﬂow patterns. This phenomenology emerges through a novel mechanism involving the
interplay between the chemical activity of the photocatalytic particles, which induces Mar-
angoni stresses at the liquid–liquid interface, and the geometrical conﬁnement provided by
the drop. The response of the interface to the chemical activity of the particles is the source
of a signiﬁcantly ampliﬁed hydrodynamic ﬂow within the drop, which moves the particles.
Furthermore, in ensembles of such active drops long-ranged ordering of the ﬂow patterns
within the drops is observed. We show that the ordering is dictated by a chemical com-
munication between drops, i.e., an alignment of the ﬂow patterns is induced by the gradients
of the chemicals emanating from the active particles, rather than by hydrodynamic
In the future, artificially intelligent systems will substantially change the way we live, work, and communicate. Intelligent systems will become increasingly important in all spheres of life – as virtual systems on the Internet, or as cyber-physical systems in the real world. Artificial intelligence (AI) will be used for autonomous driving, as well as to diagnose and fight diseases, or to carry out emergency operations that are too dangerous for humans. This is just the beginning.
Our goal is to understand the principles of Perception, Action and Learning in autonomous systems that successfully interact with complex environments and to use this understanding to design future systems