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Nanotechnology and biotechnology rely on our growing ability to observe, measure, control, and even manufacture on a very small scale. As one goes down in size, the molecular nature of matter becomes more apparent, and the concomitant thermal agitation of molecules and the associated fluctuations may be dominating the properties of the system. Such thermal noise effects are not only of ubiquitous importance in living organisms below the level of cells, but also give rise to intriguing physical phenomena, in particular if non-equilibrium conditions are involved.

Borrowing tools from the theory of stochastic processes and from nonlinear dynamics, researchers at NORDITA study problems ranging from far from equilibrium phenomena in idealized model systems to migration properties of biological complexes (cells, DNA, proteins,...) in microfluidic devices. Specifically, the following topics are in the focus of interest:

  • control of mobility and diffusion far from equilibrium
  • ratchet effects (systematic transport induced by random fluctuations)
  • chaotic systems in the presence of noise
  • microfluidic devices for the separation, purification or mixing of colloidal particles and complex biomolecules (lab-on-a-chip)
  • molecular recognition
  • granular gases (tracer particles)

Learn more from Ralf Eichhorn.

3 Jan 2017

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