Nonlinear Physics Seminar: "Assembling Programmable Active Biomaterials"

Wed, 17/11/202112:00-13:30
Danciger B Building, Seminar room
Lecturer: Alex Tayar, University of California Santa Barbara

Non-equilibrium thermodynamics is a contemporary research subject that crosses fields from stellar evolution, nonlinear turbulence to biological organisms. Active matter is a subclass of non-equilibrium materials, where symmetry is broken locally and energy is consumed at the constituent level. The scale of the energy input is elementary in revealing new rich non-equilibrium physics. Currently, there is no unifying thermodynamical framework to describe non-equilibrium systems and energy propagation across scales. Therefore, it is instrumental to develop new programmable active systems that allow for a quantitative parameter space study. Biological building blocks offer reproducibility, uniformity, monodispersity, programmability at the molecular scale, and high efficiency of energy consumption. Using these design principles, we assembled new men made DNA-based active systems that exhibit spontaneous flows of materials and self-organization at the mesoscale. We study the phase behavior of soft materials in particular liquid phase separation in a non-equilibrium environment. Unexpectedly, we found that the coexistence region of phase separation shifts due to the non-equilibrium nature of the environment in low-shear regime that cannot be explained by existing theoretical frameworks. We further study the propagation of active forces across length scales, measuring molecular arrangement and mechanical loads that power active turbulent like dynamic. The unique capabilities of the developed system provide insight into possible mechanisms by which nanometer-sized molecular machines drive macroscale chaotic flows.