Order, intermittency, and pressure fluctuations in a system of proliferating rods

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Abstract

Nonmotile elongated bacteria confined in two-dimensional open micro-channels can exhibit collective motion and form dense monolayers with nematic order if the cells proliferate, i.e., grow and divide. Using soft molecular dynamics simulations of a system of rods interacting through short range mechanical forces, we study the effects of the cell growth rate, the cell aspect ratio, and the sliding friction on nematic ordering and on pressure fluctuations in confined environments. Our results indicate that rods with aspect ratios >3.0 reach quasi-perfect nematic states at low sliding friction. At higher frictions, the global nematic order parameter shows intermittent fluctuations due to sudden losses of order and the time intervals between these bursts are power-law distributed. The pressure transverse to the channel axis can vary abruptly in time and shows hysteresis due to lateral crowding effects. The longitudinal pressure field is on average correlated to nematic order, but it is locally very heterogeneous and its distribution follows an inverse power law, in sharp contrast with nonactive granular systems. We discuss some implications of these findings for tissue growth.
Original languageEnglish
Article number012715
Number of pages8
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Volume88
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

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