Link to DOI – Ryan J Morris et al 2017 New J. Phys. 19 035002
New J. Phys. 19 (2017) 035002
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.