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OnderzoekZernike (ZIAM)MIMECOnck Group

Research

Prof.dr.ir. P.R. (Patrick) Onck

Research in the Onck group aims at understanding the micromechanical and functional behavior of (biological) materials based on an accurate description of the underlying (bio-) physical mechanisms. Computational techniques (e.g. molecular dynamics, finite element methods, finite volume approaches, solid-fluid interaction techniques) are being used to explicitly account for the physical mechanisms at the relevant length scales.

The research can be grouped in three main topics:

(1) Biophysics (in collaboration with the Van der Giessen group)        

In this work we study fundamental processes in the cell in order to elucidate the biophysical mechanisms that are responsible for transport of biomolecules through the nuclear pore complex, the transmission of mechanical forces through the cytoskeleton, protein aggregation in neurodegenerative diseases and membrane fusion by studying the conformational dynamics of surface proteins. For more details, follow this link.

Density distribution of the disordered domain of the nuclear pore complex (NPC): all amino-acids (left, gold), charged amino-acids (centre,red),FG-repeats (right, green).
Density distribution of the disordered domain of the nuclear pore complex (NPC): all amino-acids (left, gold), charged amino-acids (centre,red),FG-repeats (right, green).

(2) Metallic and graphene (nano-)foams

Metallic and graphene (nano-)foams have excellent properties per unit weight. In addition, they can undergo dimensional changes when a potential difference is applied in an electrochemical environment or when a magnetic field is applied. Here we combine atomistic and continuum techniques to link the porous (nano-)structure to their functional and mechanical properties. For more details, follow this link.

Stress-distribution calculated by molecular dynamics simulations of gold gyroidal structures of different size (increasing from left to right).
Stress-distribution calculated by molecular dynamics simulations of gold gyroidal structures of different size (increasing from left to right).

(3) Smart/responsive materials      

This work aims at understanding and designing smart and responsive materials by developing computational models (molecular dynamics, solid-fluid interaction techniques and finite-element models) for application in, e.g., NEMS/MEMS, microfluidic and lab-on-chip applications. Emphasis is on magneto-, electro- and photomechanical interactions. For more details, follow this link.

Snapshot of a computational fluid dynamics simulation of magnetically-actuated artificial cilia, generating fluid flow in a microfluidic channel.
Snapshot of a computational fluid dynamics simulation of magnetically-actuated artificial cilia, generating fluid flow in a microfluidic channel.
Last modified:18 October 2017 10.09 a.m.