Nonequilibrium self-assembly and time-irreversibility in living systems

Far-from-equilibrium processes constantly dissipate energy while converting a free-energy source to another form of energy. Living systems, for example, rely on an orchestra of molecular motors that consume chemical fuel to produce mechanical work. In this talk, I will describe two features of life, namely, time-irreversibility, and nonequilibrium self-assembly.

Time irreversibility is the hallmark of nonequilibrium dissipative processes. Detecting dissipation is essential for our basic understanding of the underlying physical mechanism, however, it remains a challenge in the absence of observable directed motion, flows, or fluxes. Additional difficulty arises in complex systems where many internal degrees of freedom are inaccessible to an external observer. I will introduce a novel approach to detect time irreversibility and estimate the entropy production from time-series measurements, even in the absence of observable currents. This method can be implemented in scenarios where only partial information is available and thus provides a new tool for studying nonequilibrium phenomena.

Further, I will explore the added benefits achieved by nonequilibrium driving for self-assembly, identify distinctive collective phenomena that emerge in a nonequilibrium self-assembly setting, and demonstrate the interplay between the assembly speed, kinetic stability, and relative population of dynamical attractors.

1. Gili Bisker, Nature Physics, (2020)

2. Ignacio A. Martínez*, Gili Bisker*, Jordan M. Horowitz, Juan M.R. Parrondo, Nature Communications, 10(1), (2019)

3. Gili Bisker and Jeremy L. England, PNAS, 115 (45), (2018)

4. Gili Bisker, Matteo Polettini, Todd R. Gingrich, and Jordan M. Horowitz, Journal of Statistical Mechanics: Theory and Experiment (9), 093210 (2017)