About Xiang Cheng's Work
Active matter is a novel class of non-equilibrium complex fluids including biological and physical systems ranging from flocking animals to mobile colloids and to self-propelled cytoskeleton. It shows universal features such as coherently moving patterns that have attracted intensive research interests in recent years. Although significant progress has been made through simulation and theoretical modeling, experiments on active matter are still very limited due to the lack of control over the dynamics of self-propelled units and the difficulty in characterizing the complex inter-unit interactions. By combining start-of-the-art characterization tools from soft matter physics and recombinant DNA techniques from bio-engineering, I propose a transformative strategy to overcome these hurdles. The proposed research will greatly deepen our fundamental understanding of active matter and result in important applications of this new class of materials.