Chirality in Nature: Using Electrostatic Forces to Generate Chiral Symmetry

Kevin Kohlstedt, Northwestern University

Photo of Kevin Kohlstedt

Charged surfaces are interesting for their ability to have long-range correlations and their ability to be dynamically tuned. While the configurations of charged planar surfaces have been thoroughly mapped and studied, charged cylindrical surfaces show novel features. The surface patterning of cylindrically confined charges is discussed with emphasis on the role of chiral configurations. The origins of surface patterns due to competing interactions in charged monolayers are summarized along with their associated theoretical models. The electrostatically induced patterns described are important in many low-dimensional biological systems such as plasma membrane organization, filamentous virus capsid structure, or microtubule interactions. A simple model effectively predicting some features of chiral patterns in biological systems is presented.

Abstract Author(s): Kevin Kohlstedt, Graziano Vernizzi, and Monica Olvera de la Cruz