Dissipative systems engineering: Chemically fueled active molecular systems

The cytoskeleton of biological cells consists of highly adaptive structures that self-assemble and disassemble in flux-like states. These processes constantly consume energy but allow quick and dynamic changes in response to complex feedback mechanisms.
Unlike human-made objects that run on gasoline or electricity, biological systems store and distribute energy in different chemical compounds. Nucleoside oligophosphates such as Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) comprise the most readily available form of energy and their hydrolysation sustains the non-equilibrium self-assembly and disassembly of macromolecular structures.
This project investigates the molecular details and macroscopic applications of fuel-driven, active and self-assembling systems. An understanding of how energy uptake and dissipation can be linked to time-controlled structure formation and structural loss will enable the engineering of dissipative soft matter systems through chemical reaction networks. The aim is to develop next generation programmable autonomous materials systems with unusual adaptive dynamics in the dissipative steady state. Such dynamics offer an enormous potential for complex self-regulating behaviors.

Prof. Dr. Andreas Walther

Principal Investigators
Prof. Dr. Thorsten Hugel
Prof. Dr. Henning Jessen
Prof. Dr. Ralf Reski
Prof. Dr. Andreas Walther

Responsible Investigator
Prof. Dr. Jennifer Andexer

Postdoctoral Researcher
Dr. Mo Sun

Doctoral Researchers
Max Lallemang
Stella Milferstädt
Alexander Ripp