Dynamic Aggregation of Chiral Spinners

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Science  26 Apr 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5568, pp. 718-721
DOI: 10.1126/science.1068130

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An object spinning at the surface of a liquid creates a chiral vortex. If the spinning object is itself chiral, its shape modifies the characteristics of the vortex; interactions between that vortex and other vortices then depend on the chirality of the objects that produce them. This paper describes the aggregation of millimeter-sized, chiral magnetized plates floating at a liquid-air interface and rotating under the influence of a rotating external magnetic field. This external field confines all the plates at densities that cause the vortices they generate to interact strongly. For one set of plates investigated, plates of one chirality attract one another, and plates of the other chirality repel other plates of both chiralities.

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