About this Research Topic
Unlike inert materials that can be at equilibrium, active matter is often far from equilibrium. Examples of active matter include synthetic responsive molecules, polymers, and particles, as well as biological vesicles, cargos, bacteria, and cells. Whenever as individual objects or a collective, active matter is not isolated but surrounded by geometrically, physically, chemically, and/or biologically complex environments such as porous media, polymers solutions and networks, biological gels like mucus and extracellular matrix. Environmental interactions can strongly impact the motility and collective phenomena like flocking, clustering, and phase separation of active matter. This Research Topic will focus this emerging direction of research at the interface of soft matter and biology.
This Research Topic aims to bring insights in understanding and controlling interactions between active matter and complex environments using experimental, theoretical, and engineering approaches. Particularly, the goal of the Research Topic is to identify ways in which theoretical/computational frameworks developed to understand active matter in uniform environments can be applied or extended to treat active matter in more complex settings.
The scope of this Research Topic is to address some of the emerging questions associated with active matter in complex environments:
1. Transport of active matter in complex environments. Topics include but are not limited to motility of polymers, nanoparticles, colloids, bacteria, and mammalian cells in porous media, polymer solutions and gels, mucus, and crowded environments.
2. Collective and phase behavior of active matter in complex environments. Topics include the emergent collective dynamics of active matter in confined geometries and/or non-Newtonian fluids.
3. Properties, functions, and applications of active matter. Responsive mechanical, electric, magnetic, and optical properties under non-equilibrium conditions; integration of multiple properties to enable melded, adaptive functions that are often inaccessible by conventional soft matter; applications associated with transport, collective and phase behavior of active matter.
Both Original Research and critical Reviews are welcome.
Keywords: active matter, complex environments, polymers, soft matter, biomolecules
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.