Volume 81, Number 4, February 2008
Article Number 48009
Number of page(s) 6
Section Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology
Published online 28 January 2008
EPL, 81 (2008) 48009
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/81/48009

Dynamics of particles with "key-lock" interactions

N. A. Licata and A. V. Tkachenko

Department of Physics and Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics, University of Michigan 450 Church Str., Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA

received 4 October 2007; accepted in final form 21 December 2007; published February 2008
published online 28 January 2008

The dynamics of particles interacting by key-lock binding of attached biomolecules are studied theoretically. Examples of such systems include DNA-functionalized colloids as well as nanoparticles grafted with antibodies to cell membrane proteins. Depending on the coverage of the functional groups, we predict two distinct regimes. In the localized regime at low coverage, the system exhibits an exponential distribution of particle departure times. At higher coverage, there is an interplay between departure dynamics and particle diffusion. This interplay leads to a sharp increase of the departure times, a phenomenon qualitatively similar to aging in glassy systems. This diffusive regime is analogous to dispersive transport in disordered semiconductors: depending on the interaction parameters, the diffusion behavior ranges from standard diffusion to anomalous, subdiffusive behavior. The connection to recent experiments and implications for future studies are discussed.

82.70.Dd - Colloids.
66.10.Cb - Diffusion and thermal diffusion.
68.43.Vx - Thermal desorption.

© EPLA 2008