Biophysics: A self-organized vortex array of hydrodynamically entrained sperm cells

Ingmar H. Riedel, Karsten Kruse, Jonathon Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

454 Scopus citations


Many patterns in biological systems depend on the exchange of chemical signals between cells. We report a spatiotemporal pattern mediated by hydrodynamic interactions. At planar surfaces, spermatozoa self-organized into dynamic vortices resembling quantized rotating waves. These vortices formed an array with local hexagonal order. Introducing an order parameter that quantifies cooperativity, we found that the array appeared only above a critical sperm density. Using a model, we estimated the hydrodynamic interaction force between spermatozoa to be ∼0.03 piconewtons. Thus, large-scale coordination of cells can be regulated hydrodynamically, and chemical signals are not required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-303
Number of pages4
Issue number5732
StatePublished - Jul 8 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Biophysics: A self-organized vortex array of hydrodynamically entrained sperm cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this