ECCS '12 Brussels - European Conference on Complex Systems ECCS'12 Complex Systems Society

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Raymond Kapral
Chemical Physics Theory Group, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Raymond Kapral is Professor of Chemistry in the Chemical Physics Theory Group in the University of Toronto. His research interests include statistical mechanics, nonlinear dynamics, the dynamics of open quantum systems and pattern formation and self organization phenomena in complex systems. The mesoscale dynamics of molecular machines and motors that operate under far-from-equilibrium conditions in the cell or in vitro environments is an integral part of current research. Efforts in this area focus on the ways synthetic nanomachines can be designed to have specific properties and perform specific tasks, and how protein machines can operate in the complex environment in the interior of the cell.

Copying Biology: Synthetic Chemically-Powered Nanomotors

Molecular motors are ubiquitous in biology where they play important roles in the active transport of organelles and other material in the cell, cell division and muscle contraction, to name just a few of their many uses. Recently a variety of micron and nano-scale synthetic motors have been fabricated. Like their biological counterparts, these motors use chemical energy to effect directed motion, operate under far-from-equilibrium conditions and are subject to strong fluctuations from the environment in which they move. The hope is that these synthetic motors can be used to perform tasks such as targeted cargo transport and drug delivery, active chemical synthesis, etc., mimicking, in many respects, what biological systems do routinely. The talk will discuss how such motors are made and the principles that underlie their propulsion. Particular emphasis will be given to how a chemically active environment, that may exhibit chemical oscillations or waves, can influence motor motion, and how many motors can act collectively to promote active self-assembly and coherent dynamics.