Noise-induced collective actuation in active solids

Collective actuation describes the spontaneous synchronized oscillations taking place in active solids when the elasto-active feedback, which generically couples the reorientation of the active forces and the elastic stress, is large enough. In the absence of noise, collective actuation takes the form of a strong condensation of the dynamics on a specific pair of modes and their generalized harmonics. Here we report experiments conducted with centimetric active elastic structures, where collective oscillation takes place along the single lowest energy mode of the system, gapped from the other modes because of the system’s geometry. Combining the numerical and theoretical analysis of an agent-based model, we demonstrate that this form of collective actuation is noise-induced. The effect of the noise is first analyzed in a single-particle toy model that reveals the interplay between the noise and the specific structure of the phase space. We then show that in the continuous limit, any finite amount of noise turns this new form of transition to collective actuation into a bona fide supercritical Hopf bifurcation.


By : Paul Baconnier, Vincent Démery, and Olivier Dauchot

Phys. Rev. E 109, 024606 – Published 20 February 2024



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