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Monday, March 28, 2016
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)


Efficient molecular-scale energy transmission

David Sivak
Simon Fraser University

Molecular machines are protein complexes that convert between different forms of energy, and they feature prominently in essentially any major cell biological process. It seems plausible that evolution has sculpted these rapid-turnover machines to efficiently transmit energy in their natural contexts, where stochastic fluctuations are large and nonequilibrium driving forces are strong. But what are the physical limits on such nonequilibrium efficiency? And what machine designs would actually achieve these limits? Toward a systematic picture of efficient stochastic nonequilibrium energy transmission, I address two related fundamental questions in nonequilibrium statistical mechanics: How do we predict the response of molecular-scale soft-matter systems to rapid nonequilibrium driving? And how do we identify the driving that most efficiently (yet rapidly) carries such a noisy system from one state to another? These abstract theoretical considerations have immediate consequences for the design of single-molecule biophysical experiments and molecular simulations, and nontrivial yet intuitive implications for the design principles of molecular-scale energy transmission, which I illustrate through numerical calculations in simple models of bistable systems and rotary mechanochemical motors

Host: Sebastian Deffner