MolecularControl is a project funded by Horizon 2020 MCSA-IF under award number 839225. The project started in June 2020 and will end in May 2023. Updates and news on the project will be posted here.

Project Summary

Numerous biological processes harvest out-of-equilibrium forces for transport, sensing, signaling and more. For example, pumping of ions is performed within fluctuating pores that are believed to facilitate transport. The nature of these forces is extremely diverse, from electrical driving to thermodynamic or chemical driving. The ability to describe nonequilibrium states is critical to understand numerous biological processes but is extremely challenging as standard thermodynamic concepts fail. The MolecularControl project will investigate out-of-equilibrium systems relevant to health issues or sustainable energy. It plans to develop theoretical tools that can be widely applied, and transferred to other soft matter problems.

Project Results

Noise and transport in nanopores We started by investigating noise at equilibrium in a simple setting. In doing so we discovered that fractional noise (a subset of subdiffusive noise) is inherent in nanopores, for example when counting particles crossing the pore [1]. I also wrote a review adressing methods and applications related to transport in nanopores.

[1] Intrinsic fractional noise in nanopores: The effect of reservoirs S. Marbach J. Chem. Phys. 154 (17), 171101

[2] Electroosmosis in nanopores: Computational methods and technological applications A. Gubbiotti, M. Baldelli, G. Di Muccio, P. Malgaretti, S. Marbach, M. Chinappi arXiv preprint arXiv:2111.05786

Adhesion and motion with multivalent ligand-receptors We rationalized the microscopic details of the interactions between DNA-coated surfaces [3]. Building on this knowledge it is possible to quantify equilibrium motion of a particle with multivalent ligands attaching to sticky receptors on a surface [4], and we predicted that this motion could be affected by inertia [5]. This opens up ways to control and improve assembly.

[3] Comprehensive view of microscopic interactions between DNA-coated colloids F. Cui, S. Marbach, J. A. Zheng, M. Holmes-Cerfon, D. J. Pine

[4] The Nanocaterpillar's Random Walk: Diffusion With Ligand-Receptor Contacts S. Marbach, J. A. Zheng, M. Holmes-Cerfon arXiv preprint arXiv:2110.03112

[5] Can mass change the diffusion coefficient of DNA-coated colloids? S. Marbach, J. A. Zheng, M. Holmes-Cerfon arXiv preprint arXiv:2112.05266