Colloquium 7/4/2011

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Thomas Gruhn, Universität Mainz

Monte-Carlo simulations of self-assembling filament networks

A binary system of long and short spherocylinders is studied with the help of Monte Carlo simulations. The short spherocylinders have an adhesive site on both ends with which they can bind reversibly to the long spherocylinders. In this way, they act as crosslinkers that may interconnect a pair of long rods. In a similar way, network structures are formed by crosslinked actin filaments in the cytoskeleton of living cells. The structure of crosslinker-mediated rod assemblies has been studied systematically and the critical behavior at the percolation threshold has been studied.

Recent studies show that the length of the filaments have a minor influence on the percolation threshold if the packing fraction and crosslinker-filament ratio is kept fixed. An analytic study of the binding probability at low densities is in good agreement with simulation results.