Research

My research is at the interface between soft matter, biology, hydrodynamics and statistical physics.

Nanotube

Osmosis, filtration and beyond

(Image credits: Jalene Lu) Osmosis is a universal phenomenon occurring in q broqd vqriety of processes. It is both trivial in its fundamental expression, yet highly subtle in its physical roots. Pushing the fundqmentql understqnding of osmosis, it is possible to explore new perspectives in a variety of fields, and find applications where advanced osmotic processes show great promises.

Active Sieving

Active sieving and separation of particles

In Nature, exceptional permeability and selectivity properties are reached in ion channels. The paradigm change as compared to nanoscale technology is that these biological filters are out-of-equilibrium, submitted to either thermal or active fluctuations – for example of the pore constriction. We investigated how out-of-equilibrium fluctuations of a pore affects translocation dynamics, and found regimes of enhanced selectivity and transport. These results open up the possibility that transport across membranes can be actively tuned by external stimuli, with potential applications to nanoscale pumping, osmosis and dynamical ultrafiltration.

Nanotube

Water and ion transport at the nanoscale

Measurements and simulations have found exceptional transport properties for water and ions through narrow pores such as carbon nanotubes. The exact mechanism of transport inside nanotubes continues to be debated because of the limited number of experimental results, and the fact that continuum theories may not be used at these scales. We have made significant effort in designing very accute experiments in single nanoscale pores and investigating how discrete effects come into play in these systems. Nanofluidics is truely the frontier at which the continuum picture of fluid mechanics meets the atomic nature of matter.

Kidney

Do flows organize growth patterns in biology?

(photo credit: Natalie Andrew) Physarum Polycephalum is a slime mold growing as a mostly planar network of veins encapsulating periodically pumped fluid flow with nutrients and genetic material. Together with the Biological Physics and Morphogenesis (BPM) group, we are interested in understanding the growth and pruning dynamics of this individual. Learning from this individual may help to identify patterns that may allow to build hypothesis for blood vasculature morphogenesis.