Phase transitions in finite bio-nano-systems


Imagine you're in the kitchen, boiling eggs in water. As the water heats up, you'll see wisps of steam rising – a clear sign of water molecules transitioning from the liquid phase to the gas phase due to the increased heat. But here's the fascinating twist: not just the water undergoing a phase transition; the proteins inside the egg are also part of this intricate dance. Initially, the liquid egg-white cradles solvated proteins in a stable equilibrium structure. However, when you apply heat by boiling the water, these proteins embark on their phase transition journey, forming the solid egg whites we associate with boiled eggs.

This captivating world of phase transitions in biological systems goes well beyond the kitchen. It encompasses processes like the intricate folding of amino acid chains into functional proteins, the twisting of DNA strands that shape our genomes, or even the self-assembly of carbon nanotubes. Our mission in this realm is to develop cutting-edge theoretical approaches based on the principles of statistical physics to describe and understand these molecular-scale phase transitions precisely. It all starts with two distinct equilibrium states of the same system, and our goal is to unravel the complex transformation journey between them, unlocking the secrets of these remarkable bio-nano systems.

Recent Publications

Studying folding ↔ unfolding dynamics of solvated alanine polypeptides using molecular dynamics, Jonathan Hungerland, Anders Frederiksen, Luca Gerhards, Ilia A. Solov'yov, European Physical Journal D, 76, 154-(1-13), (2022)
Studying phase transitions of alanine-polypeptides in water using molecular dynamics, Jonathan Hungerland, Carl von Ossietzky University, Germany, 1 — 29, Bachelor Thesis, Carl von Ossietzky University, (2021)
Phase transitions in polypeptides: analysis of energy fluctuations, Alexander V. Yakubovich, Ilia A. Solov'yov, Andrey V. Solov'yov, Walter Greiner, The European Physical Journal D, 51, 25 — 32, (2009)
Towards the understanding of structure formation and dynamics in bio-nano systems, Alexander V. Yakubovich, Ilia A. Solov'yov, Andrey V. Solov'yov, Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 129, 012040-(1-9), (2008)
Α-helix↔random coil phase transition: analysis of ab initio theory predictions, Ilia A. Solov'yov, Alexander V. Yakubovich, Andrey V. Solov'yov, Walter Greiner, The European Physical Journal D, 46, 227 — 240, (2008)