We discuss the locomotion of a three-sphere microswimmer in a viscoelastic medium and propose a new type of active microrheology. We derive a relation that connects the average swimming velocity and the frequency-dependent viscosity of the surrounding medium. In this relation, the viscous contribution can exist only when the time-reversal symmetry is broken, whereas the elastic contribution is present only when the structural symmetry of the swimmer is broken. Purcell's scallop theorem breaks down for a three-sphere swimmer in a viscoelastic medium.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)