Abstract:
Microscopic swimmers, e.g., chemotactic bacteria and cells, are capable of directed motion by exerting a force on their environment. For asymmetric microswimmers, e.g., bacteria, spermatozoa and many artificial active colloidal particles, a torque is also present leading in two dimensions to circular motion and in three dimensions to helicoidal motion with a well-defined chirality. Here, we demonstrate with numerical simulations in two dimensions how the chirality of circular motion couples to chiral features present in the microswimmer environment. Levogyre and dextrogyre microswimmers as small as $50\,\mathrm{nm}$ can be separated and selectively trapped in \emph{chiral flowers} of ellipses. Patterned microchannels can be used as \emph{funnels} to rectify the microswimmer motion, as \emph{sorters} to separate microswimmers based on their linear and angular velocities, and as \emph{sieves} to trap microswimmers with specific parameters. We also demonstrate that these results can be extended to helicoidal motion in three dimensions.

Abstract:
Noisy dynamical models are employed to describe a wide range of phenomena. Since exact modeling of these phenomena requires access to their microscopic dynamics, whose time scales are typically much shorter than the observable time scales, there is often need to resort to effective mathematical models such as stochastic differential equations (SDEs). In particular, here we consider effective SDEs describing the behavior of systems in the limits when natural time scales became very small. In the presence of multiplicative noise (i.e., noise whose intensity depends upon the system's state), an additional drift term, called noise-induced drift, appears. The nature of this noise-induced drift has been recently the subject of a growing number of theoretical and experimental studies. Here, we provide an extensive review of the state of the art in this field. After an introduction, we discuss a minimal model of how multiplicative noise affects the evolution of a system. Next, we consider several case studies with a focus on recent experiments: Brownian motion of a microscopic particle in thermal equilibrium with a heat bath in the presence of a diffusion gradient, and the limiting behavior of a system driven by a colored noise modulated by a multiplicative feedback. This allows us to present the experimental results, as well as mathematical methods and numerical techniques that can be employed to study a wide range of systems. At the end we give an application-oriented overview of future projects involving noise-induced drifts, including both theory and experiment.

Abstract:
We suggest an approach to microrheology based on optical traps in order to measure fluid fluxes around singular points of fluid flows. We experimentally demonstrate this technique, applying it to the characterization of controlled flows produced by a set of birefringent spheres spinning due to the transfer of light angular momentum. Unlike the previous techniques, this method is able to distinguish between a singular point in a complex flow and the absence of flow at all; furthermore it permits us to characterize the stability of the singular point.

Abstract:
The Photonic Force Microscope (PFM) is an opto-mechanical technique based on an optical trap that can be assumed to probe forces in microscopic systems. This technique has been used to measure forces in the range of pico- and femto-Newton, assessing the mechanical properties of biomolecules as well as of other microscopic systems. For a correct use of the PFM, the force field to measure has to be invariable (homogeneous) on the scale of the Brownian motion of the trapped probe. This condition implicates that the force field must be conservative, excluding the possibility of a rotational component. However, there are cases where these assumptions are not fulfilled Here, we show how to improve the PFM technique in order to be able to deal with these cases. We introduce the theory of this enhanced PFM and we propose a concrete analysis workflow to reconstruct the force field from the experimental time-series of the probe position. Furthermore, we experimentally verify some particularly important cases, namely the case of a conservative or rotational force-field.

Abstract:
The motion of particles in random potentials occurs in several natural phenomena ranging from the mobility of organelles within a biological cell to the diffusion of stars within a galaxy. A Brownian particle moving in the random optical potential associated to a speckle, i.e., a complex interference pattern generated by the scattering of coherent light by a random medium, provides an ideal mesoscopic model system to study such phenomena. Here, we derive a theory for the motion of a Brownian particle in a speckle and, in particular, we identify its universal characteristic timescale levering on the universal properties of speckles. This theoretical insight permits us to identify several interesting unexplored phenomena and applications. As an example of the former, we show the possibility of tuning anomalous diffusion continuously from subdiffusion to superdiffusion. As an example of the latter, we show the possibility of harnessing the speckle memory effect to perform some basic deterministic optical manipulation tasks such as guiding and sorting by employing random speckles, which might broaden the perspectives of optical manipulation for real-life applications by providing a simple and cost-effective technique.

Abstract:
Ca(OH)_{2} nanoparticles in hydro-alcoholic dispersion (nanolime) were successfully employed in
Cultural Heritage conservation, thanks to the ability to overcome the limiting aspects of traditional
lime treatments. Nanolime were currently produced by chemical precipitation process, at
high temperature, with long times of synthesis, and after several purification steps to remove undesired
secondary phases. In this paper, an innovative, simple and original method for nanolime
production was described. The method was based on an ion exchange process between an anionic
resin and a calcium chloride aqueous solution, operating at room temperature. A pure Ca(OH)_{2} nanoparticles suspension can be rapidly obtained after separating the resin from suspension, and
any purification step was necessary. The exhausted resins can be regenerated and reused for a cyclic
nanolime production. Structural and morphological features of the produced nanolime were
preliminarily characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy
(TEM). Moreover, XRD measurements allowed estimating nanoparticles reactivity by following
their carbonatation process in air, in relation to different water/alcohol ratios and medium or
high relative humidity conditions. The produced Ca(OH)_{2} nanoparticles appeared hexagonally
plated, with dimension less than 100 nm and, compared with those obtained by typical wet precipitation
method, they proved to be more reactive.

Abstract:
We demonstrate experimentally that a Brownian particle is subject to inertial effects at long time scales. By using a blinking optical tweezers, we extend the range of previous experiments by several orders of magnitude up to a few seconds. The measured mean square displacement of a freely diffusing Brownian particle in a liquid shows a deviation from the Einstein-Smoluchowsky theory that diverges with time. These results are consistent with a generalized theory that takes into account not only the particle inertia but also the inertia of the fluid surrounding the particle. This can lead to a bias in the estimation of the diffusion coefficient from finite-time measurements. We show that the decay of the relative error is polynomial and not exponential and, therefore, can have significant effects at time scales relevant for experiments.

Abstract:
Current optical manipulation techniques rely on carefully engineered setups and samples. Although similar conditions are routinely met in research laboratories, it is still a challenge to manipulate microparticles when the environment is not well controlled and known a priori, since optical imperfections and scattering limit the applicability of this technique to real-life situations, such as in biomedical or microfluidic applications. Nonetheless, scattering of coherent light by disordered structures gives rise to speckles, random diffraction patterns with well-defined statistical properties. Here, we experimentally demonstrate how speckle fields can become a versatile tool to efficiently perform fundamental optical manipulation tasks such as trapping, guiding and sorting. We anticipate that the simplicity of these "speckle optical tweezers" will greatly broaden the perspectives of optical manipulation for real-life applications.

Abstract:
The Brownian motion of microscopic particles is driven by the collisions with the molecules of the surrounding fluid. The noise associated with these collisions is not white, but coloured due, e.g., to the presence of hydrodynamic memory. The noise characteristic time scale is typically of the same order as the time over which the particle's kinetic energy is lost due to friction (inertial time scale). We demonstrate theoretically that, in the presence of a temperature gradient, the interplay between these two characteristic time scales can have measurable consequences on the particle long-time behaviour. Using homogenization theory, we analyse the infinitesimal generator of the stochastic differential equation describing the system in the limit where the two characteristic times are taken to zero; from this generator, we derive the thermophoretic transport coefficient, which, we find, can vary in both magnitude and sign, as observed in experiments. Furthermore, studying the long-term stationary particle distribution, we show that particles can accumulate towards the colder (positive thermophoresis) or the warmer (negative thermophoresis) regions depending on the dependence of their physical parameters and, in particular, their mobility on the temperature.

Abstract:
We consider the dynamics of systems with arbitrary friction and diffusion. These include, as a special case, systems for which friction and diffusion are connected by Einstein fluctuation-dissipation relation, e.g. Brownian motion. We study the limit where friction effects dominate the inertia, i.e. where the mass goes to zero (Smoluchowski-Kramers limit). {Using the It\^o stochastic integral convention,} we show that the limiting effective Langevin equations has different drift fields depending on the relation between friction and diffusion. {Alternatively, our results can be cast as different interpretations of stochastic integration in the limiting equation}, which can be parametrized by $\alpha \in \mathbb{R}$. Interestingly, in addition to the classical It\^o ($\alpha=0$), Stratonovich ($\alpha=0.5$) and anti-It\^o ($\alpha=1$) integrals, we show that position-dependent $\alpha = \alpha(x)$, and even stochastic integrals with $\alpha \notin [0,1]$ arise. Our findings are supported by numerical simulations.