The primary focus of this proposal is to use state of the art computer simulations to accurately model the behavior of active colloids, which can be thought of as synthetic swimming bacteria. An active colloid can autonomously navigate complex microscopic environments conjuring up a host of appealing applications, which include targeted drug delivery, the repair of cellular tissues within the body, the clean-up and neutralization of environmental pollutants, and the massive parallel assembly of microscopic machines. There is a high level of optimism that all these applications and many more will be realized in the near future, but first, we must understand the true individual and collective dynamics in these complex microscopic environments. Computer simulations allow us to systematically characterize the various forces (hydrodynamic, electrostatic, lubrication, etc.) in these microscopic systems, and provide deep insights into how they can be exploited to manipulate matter at the microscale.
Arnold O. Beckman exemplifies the meaning of the word humanitarian. Combined with his unwavering enthusiasm for life, his keen sense of humor and his strong moral and ethical principles, he is a national icon.