College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Bioferroelectricity at the Nanoscale

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2008

Publication Title

Theoretical Computer Science

ISSN

0304-3975

Volume

5

Abstract

This article discusses the dielectric properties of several biomolecules and biomolecular assemblies, especially PVDF, tubulin and microtubules as well as voltage-gated ion channels. The emphasis in this paper is placed on identifying the potential for the occurrence of bio-ferroelectricity and its role in biological functions, in particular self-assembly and control of mass and charge transport. Detailed discussion is given on the experimental and theoretical estimates of the value of the dielectric constant of tubulin as a crucial quantity defining both ferroelectric and conductive properties of microtubules. A critical need is stated for experimental data at the level of individual nano-scale components forming biological structures.

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