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Random walk of a swimmer in a low-Reynolds-number medium

type de publication      article dans une revue internationale avec comité de lecture
date de publication 2011
auteur(s) Garcia Michaël; Berti Stefano; Peyla Philippe; Rafaï Salima
journal (abréviation) Physical Review E (Phys Rev E)
volume (numéro) 83 (3)
numéro de papier 035301
  
résumé Swimming at a micrometer scale demands particular strategies. When inertia is negligible compared to viscous forces, hydrodynamics equations are reversible in time. To achieve propulsion, microswimmers must therefore deform in a way that is not invariant under time reversal. Here, we investigate dispersal properties of the microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii by means of microscopy and cell tracking. We show that tracked trajectories are well modeled by a correlated random walk. This process is based on short time correlations in the direction of movement called persistence. At longer times, correlation is lost and a standard random walk characterizes the trajectories. Moreover, high-speed imaging enables us to show how the back-and-forth motion of flagella at very short times affects the statistical description of the dynamics. Finally, we show how drag forces modify the characteristics of this particular random walk.
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