Self-replication with magnetic dipolar colloids

Joshua M. Dempster, Rui Zhang, Monica Olvera De La Cruz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Colloidal self-replication represents an exciting research frontier in soft matter physics. Currently, all reported self-replication schemes involve coating colloidal particles with stimuli-responsive molecules to allow switchable interactions. In this paper, we introduce a scheme using ferromagnetic dipolar colloids and preprogrammed external magnetic fields to create an autonomous self-replication system. Interparticle dipole-dipole forces and periodically varying weak-strong magnetic fields cooperate to drive colloid monomers from the solute onto templates, bind them into replicas, and dissolve template complexes. We present three general design principles for autonomous linear replicators, derived from a focused study of a minimalist sphere-dimer magnetic system in which single binding sites allow formation of dimeric templates. We show via statistical models and computer simulations that our system exhibits nonlinear growth of templates and produces nearly exponential growth (low error rate) upon adding an optimized competing electrostatic potential. We devise experimental strategies for constructing the required magnetic colloids based on documented laboratory techniques. We also present qualitative ideas about building more complex self-replicating structures utilizing magnetic colloids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number042305
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Volume92
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 8 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability

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