Bacterial population solitary waves can defeat rings of funnels

Ryan J. Morris, Trung V. Phan, Matthew Black, Ke Chih Lin, Yannis Kevrekidis, Julia A. Bos, Robert H. Austin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


We have constructed a microfabricated circular corral for bacteria made of rings of concentric funnels which channel motile bacteria outwards via non-hydrodynamic interactions with the funnel walls. Initially bacteria do move rapidly outwards to the periphery of the corral. At the edge, nano-slits allow for the transport of nutrients into the device while keeping the bacteria from escaping. After a period of time in which the bacteria increase their cell density in this perimeter region, they are then able to defeat the physical constrains of the funnels by launching back-propagating collective waves. We present the basic data and some nonlinear modeling which can explain how bacterial population waves propagate through a physical funnel, and discuss possible biological implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035002
JournalNew Journal of Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


  • bacterial dynamics
  • bacterial waves
  • collective behavior
  • funnels


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