Thesis topic proposal
István Szalai
Pattern formation in reaction-diffusion systems


Institute: Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest
György Hevesy Doctoral School of Chemistry

Thesis supervisor: István Szalai
Location of studies (in Hungarian): Institute of Chemistry, Eötvös University
Abbreviation of location of studies: ELTE

Description of the research topic:

"Far from thermodynamic equilibrium, temporal or spatial structures can spontaneously emerge in systems involving nonlinear cooperative processes. Chemical ""dissipative structures"" are one of the main topics of the nonlinear science. A large variety of spatio-temporal behaviors like excitability waves, standing Turing and front patterns and chemomechanical structures have been observed in the past decades. These patterning instabilities have been demonstrated in only a handful of reactions, however tens of reaction families counting hundreds of variants are known to produce temporal self-organisations (e.g. bistability and oscillations). We anticipate, that most of these reactions can be used to develop spatio-temporal patterns under proper conditions (e.g. in appropriately designed open-spatial-reactors). The main goal of the research work is to design and control of pattern and shape formation in nonlinear chemical systems. We shall study kinetic or diffusion-driven instabilities in bistable/oscillatory reactions. Beyond that, we shall use of these reaction-diffusion systems to design autonomous soft chemomechanical systems (e.g by coupling a pH-autoactivated reactions with a polyelectrolyte gel). Soft chemomechanical systems, which transform chemical energy to mechanical work, are ubiquitous in living systems, they play a key role in muscular contraction, cell division, cellular traffic etc. The cross-coupling of the size change of the gel with the autoactivated reactions that produces spatial bistability uncovers new sources of dissipative structures. Beside more theoretical considerations, the latter research may lead to results of potential relevance in the biological self-organization.

Required language skills: English
Number of students who can be accepted: 2

Deadline for application: 2023-05-31

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