Nonreciprocal matter: living chiral crystals

2021-11-11 13:00 - 14:30

Abstract: Active crystals are highly ordered structures that emerge from the nonequilibrium self-organization of motile objects, and have been widely studied in synthetic and bacterial active matter. In this talk, I will describe how swimming sea star embryos spontaneously assemble into chiral crystals that span thousands of spinning organisms and persist for tens of hours. Combining experiment, hydrodynamic theory, and simulations, we demonstrate that the formation, dynamics, and dissolution of these living crystals are controlled by the natural development of the embryos. Remarkably, due to nonreciprocal force and torque exchange between the embryos, the living chiral crystals exhibit self-sustained oscillations with dynamic signatures recently predicted to emerge in materials with odd elasticity.