We present a large-scale numerical study, supplemented by experimental observations, of a quasi-two-dimensional active system of polar rods and spherical beads confined between two horizontal plates and energised by vertical vibration. For low rod concentrations $\Phi_r$ we observe a direct phase transition, as bead concentration $\Phi_b$ is increased, from the isotropic phase to a homogeneous flock. For $\Phi_r$ above a threshold value, an ordered band dense in both rods and beads occurs between the disordered phase and the homogeneous flock, in both experiments and simulations. Within the size ranges accessible we observe only a single band, whose width increases with $\Phi_r$. Deep in the ordered state, we observe broken-symmetry "sound" modes and giant number fluctuations. The direction-dependent sound speeds and the scaling of fluctuations are consistent with the predictions of field theories of flocking, but sound damping rates show departures from such theories. At very high densities we see phase separation into rod-rich and bead-rich regions, both of which move coherently.
- Pub Date:
- August 2020
- Condensed Matter - Soft Condensed Matter
- The supplementary movies can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/20veq6no0ltmu4c/AAD_dtGtCR9wiQXaW-LvjAZka?dl=0