Who we are

We are a group of scientists at the Cavendish Lab, University of Cambridge, UK. Our research is focused on understanding transport processes through membranes.

The physics of ions, macromolecules and particles in confined geometries at the single molecule/-particle level is of particular interest. We exert maximum control over all parameters in our experiments using several techniques: DNA (origami) self-assembly, optical trapping, particle tracking, fluorescence microscopy, electrophysiology, or micro-/nanofluidics, often in combination.

Our interdisciplinary team combines researchers with expertise in physics, engineering, physical chemistry, biochemistry/biology, and micro- and nanofabrication.

In case you are interested in working with us, please get in touch with Ulrich by email: ufk20 (at) cam.ac.uk.

We gratefully acknowledge funding of our work from various sources including:

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31/12/2019 Published in ACS nano: Tunable Anion Selective Transport through Mono-Layer Graphene and Hexagonal Boron Nitride

Great end and start to new year! We have shown controllable anion and cation selectivity through monolayer graphene and hexagonal boron nitride and modelled the selective ionic transport. Made possible with a collaboration between HofmannGroup and ZettlGroup.

16/12/2019 Published in PNAS: Optimizing Brownian escape rates by potential shaping

Increasing the height of activation barriers can *accelerate* reactions, rather than slow them down. We show experimentally and theoretically in collaboration with the Trizac lab how Arrhenius/Kramers scaling breaks down for certain barrier shapes. Great work, Jannes and a big thank you to the NanoTrans EU-ITN-training network for funding the work.

28/11/2019 Published in Nanotechnology: Noise properties of rectifying and non-rectifying nanopores

Stuart studied the properties of glass nanopores as components in an ionic circuits, showing that while net conduction is bulk dominated, noise is surface dominated. Great work!

5/11/2019 Published in Nano Letters: All-optical detection of neuronal membrane depolarization in live cells using colloidal quantum dots

Mus and Raj collaborated with members from the Rao, Greenham and Franze labs to show that neuronal potentials can be detected with calibrated quantum dots. Great!

23/10/2019 Published in Nucleic Acids Research: Controlling aggregation of cholesterol-modified DNA nanostructures

DNA nanopores for lipid membranes just got more versatile as we can now build systems that control aggregation by designed nucleic acid overhangs. Congratulations Alex and a big thank you to the Aksimentiev Lab for MD simulations and Ranson lab for TEM imaging of our small DNA nanostructures!

11/10/2019 Published in Nano Letters: Monitoring G-Quadruplex Formation with DNA Carriers and Solid-State Nanopores

Filip published part of his MPhil thesis where he uses our glass nanopres for the detection of (un-)folded G-quadruplexes in double-stranded DNA. Congratulations!

11/9/2019 Published in Applied Physics Letters: Cation dependent electroosmotic flow in glass nanopores

Jeff collaborated with Prof Kurt Andresen. We show that cations have unexpected effects on electro-osmotic flows in nanopores. Congrats for being Editor's Pick for issue 11.

26/7/2019 Published in Nano Letters: Current Enhancement in Solid-State Nanopores Depends on Three-Dimensional DNA Structure

Vivian and Nik show that the current enhancement observed in glass nanopores depends on three-dimensional structure of DNA orgiami. Excellent results from Vivian's MPhil project!

8/7/2019 Published online JACS: FeII4L4 Tetrahedron Binds to Nonpaired DNA Bases

Together with the (Nitschke Group) Jinbo shows that their coordination cages are suitable for the all-optical detection of unpaired bases in DNA. Congratulations!

1/7/2019 NEW paper in Phys. Rev. Lett.: Nonlinear Electrophoresis of Highly Charged Nonpolarizable Particles

In a successful collaboration with Douwe Bonthuis (Graz) Soichiro shows that non-linear electrophoresis is real and can lead to a new way of trapping particles beyong dielectrophoresis. Congratulations!