Chelakkot, R., A. Gopinath, L. Mahadevan, and M. F. Hagan. 2013. “Flagellar Dynamics of a Connected Chain of Active, Polar, Brownian Particles.” Journal of The Royal Society Interface 11 (92) (December 18): 20130884–20130884. doi:10.1098/rsif.2013.0884.
We show that active, self-propelled particles that are connected together to form a single chain that is anchored at one end can produce the graceful beating motions of flagella. Changing the boundary condition from a clamp to a pivot at the anchor leads to steadily rotating tight coils. Strong noise in the system disrupts the regularity of the oscillations. We use a combination of detailed numerical simulations, mean-field scaling analysis and first passage time theory to characterize the phase diagram as a function of the filament length, passive elasticity, propulsion force and noise. Our study suggests minimal experimental tests for the onset of oscillations in an active polar chain.