Tony Gao and co-author Zhaorui Li make the cover pf Physics Review Letters for their article
Active matter defines a class of far-away-from-equilibrium systems comprising self-driven microparticles. Their anomalous physical properties could be applied in areas such as mixing or separation, micropumps, and self-healing materials. To realize such applications, a thorough understanding of the physical mechanisms as well as the development of methods to manipulate various active systems is required. Using a coarse-grained active liquid crystal model, we designed and investigated a single self-driven droplet which encapsulated a dense suspension comprising nonmotile but mobile active particles that generate extensile stresses. We showed that such droplets can be driven into motion and can have tunable mobilities owing to their internal collective motion, which is characterized by induced active flows and motile disclination defects. Furthermore, it was illustrated that the interplay among the internal directional flows, liquid crystalline structures, droplet size, and surface tension resulted in different types of locomotion and rotation.