Fullerenes are a family of carbon allotropes, molecules composed entirely of carbon, which form hollow spheres, ellipsoids, tubes, or planes. Their unique physical properties make them excellent candidates for applications ranging from gas sensors to targeted drug design and delivery.

We focus on the interaction of fullerenes with  fluids as we are interested in the design of nanosensors and actuators. Of particular interest is the interaction of fullerenes with water and biomolecules for bio-nanotechnology applications.


Electrophoretic RNA transport through transmembrane carbon nanotubes


The study of interactions between carbon nanotubes and cellular components, such as membranes and biomolecules,  is fundamental for the rational design of nanodevices interfacing with biological systems. In this work, we use molecular  dynamics simulations to study the electrophoretic transport of RNA through carbon nanotubes embedded in membranes. Decorated and naked carbon nanotubes are inserted into a dodecane membrane and a dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine lipid bilayer, and the system is subjected to electrostatic potential differences. The transport properties of this artificial pore are determined by the structural modifications of the membrane in the vicinity of the nanotube openings and they are quantified by the nonuniform electrostatic potential maps at the entrance and inside the nanotube
 RNA transport through transmembrane carbon nanotube.



Collaborators: Dr. Richard Jaffe (NASA Ames)
  • Zimmerli U., Koumoutsakos P., Simulations of Electrophoretic RNA Transport through Transmembrane Carbon Nanotubes, Biophysical J. , 94, 2008 (Abstract(pdf)
  • E. M. Kotsalis, E. Demosthenous, J. H. Walther, S. C. Kassinos, and P. Koumoutsakos. Wetting of doped carbon nanotubes by water droplets. Chemical Physics Letters, 412(4-6):250-254, 2005 (Abstract) (pdf)