Our research focuses on the fundamental theory of small out-of-equilibrium systems and processes, such as molecular machines, information engines, and other type of driven systems. A common property of such systems is that they are interacting with molecules in their environment and as a result their motion is noisy. We study questions such as: i) what laws such systems satisfy, ii) how to optimally operate microscopic machines in these conditions, iii) the fascinating relation between information and thermodynamics and how it affects such machines.
One example for a possible summer project is focused on a model of molecular machines that are operated like pumps. Research in our group showed that the driving that maximize the power output is unusual, as it involves switching between configurations at an infinite rate. In the project we intend to explore how this behavior changes when the number of states and the topology of transition between them is modified. The project will involve some fun mathematical challenges, and the results may help to design better artificial molecular machines in the future.
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