From Maxwell’s demon to the self-organization of mass transfer processes in living systems
As a result of cyclic interactions with their environment, microparticles are often drawn into a directed, stochastically determined motion and subsequently arrange themselves into dynamical structures. In the present review, the possibility of a directed motion of microparticles in the presence of weak, asymmetric, periodic governing fields is analyzed. The minimum energy requirement for changing from random walk to directed motion is estimated. Applications to regulatory processes in biosystems, such as the virus-bacterium interaction and intercellular movement of chemotaxis bacteria, vesicles, enzymes, and ions, are discussed and certain high-technology uses of these effects considered.