Using Light to Control Bacteria

Statistical Physics and Complexity Group meeting

Using Light to Control Bacteria

  • Event time: 11:30am until 12:30pm
  • Event date: 29th November 2017
  • Speaker: (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
  • Location: Room 2511,

Event details

By applying light patterns to bacteria which are genetically modified to have a light-dependent swimming speed [1], we can create spatial bacterial patterns, since the bacteria swim out of the light regions and aggregate in the dark regions [2]. We have now performed experiments and simulations on the response of bacteria to moving light patterns, which rectify the average swimming direction. These show some counterintuitive effects, such as reversal of the direction of motion at a critical pattern speed. I will present a simple 1D theory that reproduces the essential details of the experimental results.

[1] Walter et al., (2007) PNAS 104, 2408

[2] Arlt et al., (2017) arXiv:1710.08188