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The near-contact-line dynamics of evaporating sessile drops containing live cells is studied experimentally. The evaporation of the drop together with its pinned contact-line drives a radially outward fluid flow inside the drop concentrating the suspended cells near the contact-line. Our experiments reveal a collective behavior of the concentrated bacterial population near the contact-line appearing in the form of spatially periodic “bacterial jets” along the circumference of the drop. Based on a physical analysis of the continuum equations of bacterial suspensions, we hypothesize that the patterns result from a concentration instability driven by the active stress of swimming bacteria.


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