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Portrait of Heiner Linke; Photo: Kennet Ruona

Heiner Linke

Professor, Deputy dean at Faculty of Engineering, LTH

Portrait of Heiner Linke; Photo: Kennet Ruona

Motor properties from persistence: a linear molecular walker lacking spatial and temporal asymmetry


  • Martin J. Zuckermann
  • Christopher N. Angstmann
  • Regina Schmitt
  • Gerhard A. Blab
  • Elizabeth H. C. Bromley
  • Nancy R. Forde
  • Heiner Linke
  • Paul M. G. Curmi

Summary, in English

The stepping direction of linear molecular motors is usually defined by a spatial asymmetry of the motor, its track, or both. Here we present a model for a molecular walker that undergoes biased directional motion along a symmetric track in the presence of a temporally symmetric chemical cycle. Instead of using asymmetry, directionality is achieved by persistence. At small load force the walker can take on average thousands of steps in a given direction until it stochastically reverses direction. We discuss a specific experimental implementation of a synthetic motor based on this design and find, using Langevin and Monte Carlo simulations, that a realistic walker can work against load forces on the order of picoNewtons with an efficiency of similar to 18%, comparable to that of kinesin. In principle, the walker can be turned into a permanent motor by externally monitoring the walker's momentary direction of motion, and using feedback to adjust the direction of a load force. We calculate the thermodynamic cost of using feedback to enhance motor performance in terms of the Shannon entropy, and find that it reduces the efficiency of a realistic motor only marginally. We discuss the implications for natural protein motor performance in the context of the strong performance of this design based only on a thermal ratchet.


  • Solid State Physics
  • NanoLund

Publishing year





New Journal of Physics



Document type

Journal article


IOP Publishing


  • Nano Technology


  • feedback control
  • artificial protein motor
  • Langevin dynamics
  • kinesin
  • Brownian ratchet
  • molecular motor




  • ISSN: 1367-2630