UBC Mech Department Professor Gwynn Elfring and recently graduated MECH Ph.D. student Charu Datt have published an article in the prestigious physics journal Physical Review Letters on ‘Active particles in viscosity gradients’. In this work they show how one can understand and model the viscotaxis observed in biological microorganisms swimming in fluids with viscosity gradients. In the paper they also showed that the changes in dynamics due to swimming in viscosity gradients suggests a mechanism that can be used to sort and control the motion of small active particles by carefully choosing the viscosity profile. Professor Elfring (now on sabbatical at Caltech) along with collaborators at Caltech and Santa Clara University are now investigating experimental approaches to realize this control of microswimmers for applications such as targeted drug delivery.
Read the full publication here.