We study, by means of Brownian dynamics simulations, heterogeneous dynamics in a dense columnar phase of monodisperse hard filamentous particles, and find that in a background of barely moving particles, some particles occasionally engage in a fast coherent string-type motion similar to what is observed in glassy states of isometric particles. This fast motion is triggered by the exchange of particles between two or more columns at different positions in the columns, which leads to sudden displacement of particles between these positions. The distribution of particle displacements shows a pronounced peak at one particle length. We perform our simulations with particles of different persistence lengths and find that for more flexible particles, the number of jump events increases. As the number of particles in the columns increases with system size for a given linear fraction of particles in the columns, the peak in the distribution becomes wider and, for sufficiently large systems, the peak disappears completely. This is associated with the increase in the magnitude of fluctuations in the motion of particles as the system size increases. Our simulation results explain recent experimental observations on single-particle motion in dense columnar phases in aqueous dispersions of filamentous virus particles
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