Diffusion of two molecular species in a crowded environment: theory and experiments

Fanelli, D., McKane, A.J., Pompili, G., Tiribilli, B., Vassalli, M. and Biancalani, T. (2013) Diffusion of two molecular species in a crowded environment: theory and experiments. Physical Biology, 10(4), 045008. (doi: 10.1088/1478-3975/10/4/045008) (PMID:23912053)

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Abstract

Diffusion of a two component fluid is studied in the framework of differential equations, but where these equations are systematically derived from a well-defined microscopic model. The model has a finite carrying capacity imposed upon it at the mesoscopic level and this is shown to lead to nonlinear cross diffusion terms that modify the conventional Fickean picture. After reviewing the derivation of the model, the experiments carried out to test the model are described. It is found that it can adequately explain the dynamics of two dense ink drops simultaneously evolving in a container filled with water. The experiment shows that molecular crowding results in the formation of a dynamical barrier that prevents the mixing of the drops. This phenomenon is successfully captured by the model. This suggests that the proposed model can be justifiably viewed as a generalization of standard diffusion to a multispecies setting, where crowding and steric interferences are taken into account.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Vassalli, Dr Massimo
Authors: Fanelli, D., McKane, A.J., Pompili, G., Tiribilli, B., Vassalli, M., and Biancalani, T.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Biomedical Engineering
Journal Name:Physical Biology
Publisher:IOP Publishing
ISSN:1478-3967
ISSN (Online):1478-3975

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