Comparing open and closed molecular self-assembly

Abstract : We study theoretically in the present work the self-assembly of molecules in an open system, which is fed by monomers and depleted in partial or complete clusters. Such a scenario is likely to occur for example in the context of viral self-assembly. We provide a general formula for the mean-field size distribution which is valid both at equilibrium in a closed system, and in the stationary state in an open system. This allows us to explore in a simple way out-of-equilibrium features for self-assembly and compare them to equilibrium properties. In particular, we identify a region of parameter space for which the out-of-equilibrium size distribution in the presence of external fluxes is equal to the equilibrium size distribution in the absence of external fluxes, up to a constant renormalization factor. The range of validity of this result and its consequences are discussed.
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Submitted on : Sunday, February 16, 2014 - 11:05:45 PM
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Martin Castelnovo, Timothée Verdier, Lionel Foret. Comparing open and closed molecular self-assembly. Europhysics Letterss, 2014, 105, pp.28006. ⟨10.1209/0295-5075/105/28006⟩. ⟨ensl-00947536⟩

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