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Issue 9, 2014
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Self-replication in colloids with asymmetric interactions

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Self-replication is a ubiquitous process in organisms. Understanding the key ingredients of self-replication is critical for developing self-sustaining systems in the laboratory. Moreover, finding the optimal conditions to generate accurate replicas and adequate output can accelerate industrial processes enormously. Here, we propose a scheme for self-replication where asymmetric interactions in colloids are used to find optimal self-replication conditions by controlling the input of energy. We generalize a recently developed kinetic Monte Carlo algorithm to treat both translational and rotational motions of Brownian anisotropic colloids. We report two main findings from our simulations: first, by fine tuning the particle interactions, highly accurate self-replication is achievable with a moderate sacrifice of reaction speed. Second, with the introduction of energy cycling to enable periodic assembly/disassembly of the system's components the replicator population grows exponentially. The exponential growth constant is a non-monotonic function of the period of the pulsed energy delivery.

Graphical abstract: Self-replication in colloids with asymmetric interactions

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The article was received on 23 Sep 2013, accepted on 01 Nov 2013 and first published on 01 Nov 2013

Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/C3SM52501E
Citation: Soft Matter, 2014,10, 1315-1319
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    Self-replication in colloids with asymmetric interactions

    R. Zhang, J. M. Dempster and M. Olvera de la Cruz, Soft Matter, 2014, 10, 1315
    DOI: 10.1039/C3SM52501E

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