Microscopic Critical Engine published in Phys. Rev. Lett.

Microscopic engine powered by critical demixing

Microscopic engine powered by critical demixing
Falko Schmidt, Alessandro Magazzù, Agnese Callegari, Luca Biancofiore, Frank Cichos & Giovanni Volpe
Physical Review Letters 120(6), 068004 (2018)
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.068004
arXiv: 1705.03317

We experimentally demonstrate a microscopic engine powered by the local reversible demixing of a critical mixture. We show that, when an absorbing microsphere is optically trapped by a focused laser beam in a sub-critical mixture, it is set into rotation around the optical axis of the beam because of the emergence of diffusiophoretic propulsion. This behavior can be controlled by adjusting the optical power, the temperature, and the criticality of the mixture.

Featured in :
Focus: A Tiny Engine Powered by Light and Liquid Physics”, Physics 11, 16 (February 9, 2018)
Laser + Critical Liquid = Micro-Engine”, Optics & Photonics News (February 12, 2018)
Tiny engine powered by demixing fluid” Phys.Org (February 12, 2018)
Расслаивание растворителя закрутило микрочастицы вокруг лазерного пучка”, N+1: научные статьи, новости, открытия (February 12, 2018)
Tiny engine powered by remixing fluid”, Brinkwire (February 16, 2018)


Dynamic Deposition of Particles in Evaporating Droplets published in J. Phys. Chem. Lett.

Dynamic control of particle deposition in evaporating droplets by an external point source vapor

Dynamic control of particle deposition in evaporating droplets by an external point source vapor
Robert Malinowski, Giovanni Volpe, Ivan Parkin & Giorgio Volpe
The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 9(3), 659—664 (2018)
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b02831
arXiv: 1801.08218

The deposition of particles on a surface by an evaporating sessile droplet is important for phenomena as diverse as printing, thin-film deposition, and self-assembly. The shape of the final deposit depends on the flows within the droplet during evaporation. These flows are typically determined at the onset of the process by the intrinsic physical, chemical, and geometrical properties of the droplet and its environment. Here, we demonstrate deterministic emergence and real-time control of Marangoni flows within the evaporating droplet by an external point source of vapor. By varying the source location, we can modulate these flows in space and time to pattern colloids on surfaces in a controllable manner.

Active Colloidal Molecules preprint in arXiv

Light-controlled Assembly of Active Colloidal Molecules

Light-controlled Assembly of Active Colloidal Molecules
Falko Schmidt, Benno Liebchen, Hartmut Löwen & Giovanni Volpe
submitted (2018)
arXiv: 1801.06868

We experimentally demonstrate the light-controlled assembly of active colloidal molecules from a suspension of two species of passive microspheres.When light is shone on the sample, the ac- tive molecules form and acquire motility through non-reciprocal interactions between their passive components. As their size grows, they feature a complex array of behaviors, becoming propellers, spinners and rotators. Their shape and functionality can be tuned by applying periodic illumina- tion. We also provide a theoretical model allowing to predict the complete table of emerging active molecules and their properties in quantitative agreement with the experiments.

Altered Brain Network in Amyloid Pathology published in Neurobiol. Aging

Altered structural network organization in cognitively normal individuals with amyloid pathology

Altered structural network organization in cognitively normal individuals with amyloid pathology
Olga Voevodskaya, Joana B. Pereira, Giovanni Volpe, Olof Lindberg, Erik Stomrud, Danielle van Westen, Eric Westman & Oskar Hansson
Neurobiology of Aging 64, 15—24 (2018)
DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2017.11.014

Recent findings show that structural network topology is disrupted in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), with changes occurring already at the prodromal disease stages. Amyloid accumulation, a hallmark of AD, begins several decades before symptom onset, and its effects on brain connectivity at the earliest disease stages are not fully known. We studied global and local network changes in a large cohort of cognitively healthy individuals (N = 299, Swedish BioFINDER study) with and without amyloid-β (Aβ) pathology (based on cerebrospinal fluid Aβ42/Aβ40 levels). Structural correlation matrices were constructed based on magnetic resonance imaging cortical thickness data. Despite the fact that no significant regional cortical atrophy was found in the Aβ-positive group, this group exhibited an altered global network organization, including decreased global efficiency and modularity. At the local level, Aβ-positive individuals displayed fewer and more disorganized modules as well as a loss of hubs. Our findings suggest that changes in network topology occur already at the presymptomatic (preclinical) stage of AD and may precede detectable cortical thinning.

Amyloid Network Topology in Alzheimer published in Cerebral Cortex

Amyloid network topology characterizes the progression of Alzheimer’s disease during the predementia stages

Amyloid network topology characterizes the progression of Alzheimer’s disease during the predementia stages
Joana B. Pereira, Tor Olof Strandberg, Sebastian Palmqvist, Giovanni Volpe, Danielle van Westen, Eric Westman & Oskar Hansson, for the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative
Cerebral Cortex 28(1), 340—349 (2018)
DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhx294

There is increasing evidence showing that the accumulation of the amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide into extracellular plaques is a central event in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). These abnormalities can be detected as lowered levels of Aβ42 in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and are followed by increased amyloid burden on positron emission tomography (PET) several years before the onset of dementia. The aim of this study was to assess amyloid network topology in nondemented individuals with early stage Aβ accumulation, defined as abnormal CSF Aβ42 levels and normal Florbetapir PET (CSF+/PET−), and more advanced Aβ accumulation, defined as both abnormal CSF Aβ42 and Florbetapir PET (CSF+/PET+). The amyloid networks were built using correlations in the mean 18F-florbetapir PET values between 72 brain regions and analyzed using graph theory analyses. Our findings showed an association between early amyloid stages and increased covariance as well as shorter paths between several brain areas that overlapped with the default-mode network (DMN). Moreover, we found that individuals with more advanced amyloid accumulation showed more widespread changes in brain regions both within and outside the DMN. These findings suggest that amyloid network topology could potentially be used to assess disease progression in the predementia stages of AD.

Metastable Clusters and Channels published in New J. Phys.

Metastable clusters and channels formed by active particles with aligning interactions

Metastable clusters and channels formed by active particles with aligning interactions
Simon Nilsson & Giovanni Volpe
New Journal of Physics 19, 115008 (2017)
DOI: 10.1088/1367-2630/aa9516
arXiv: 1706.01326

We introduce a novel model for active particles with short-range position-dependent aligning interactions and study their behaviour in crowded environments using numerical simulations. When only active particles are present, we observe a transition from a gaseous state to the emergence of metastable clusters as the level of orientational noise is reduced. When passive particles are also present, we observe the emergence of a network of metastable channels.

Minimal Microscopic Heat Engine published in Phys. Rev. E

Experimental realization of a minimal microscopic heat engine

Experimental realization of a minimal microscopic heat engine
Aykut Argun, Jalpa Soni, Lennart Dabelow, Stefano Bo, Giuseppe Pesce, Ralf Eichhorn & Giovanni Volpe
Physical Review E 96(5), 052106 (2017)
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.96.052106
arXiv: 1708.07197

Microscopic heat engines are microscale systems that convert energy flows between heat reservoirs into work or systematic motion. We have experimentally realized a minimal microscopic heat engine. It consists of a colloidal Brownian particle optically trapped in an elliptical potential well and simultaneously coupled to two heat baths at different temperatures acting along perpendicular directions. For a generic arrangement of the principal directions of the baths and the potential, the symmetry of the system is broken, such that the heat flow drives a systematic gyrating motion of the particle around the potential minimum. Using the experimentally measured trajectories, we quantify the gyrating motion of the particle, the resulting torque that it exerts on the potential, and the associated heat flow between the heat baths. We find excellent agreement between the experimental results and the theoretical predictions.

Optimal Search Strategy in Complex Topography published in PNAS

The topography of the environment alters the optimal search strategy for active particles

The topography of the environment alters the optimal search strategy for active particles
Giorgio Volpe & Giovanni Volpe
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 114(43), 11350—11355 (2017)
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1711371114
arXiv: 1706.07785

In environments with scarce resources, adopting the right search strategy can make the difference between succeeding and failing, even between life and death. At different scales, this applies to molecular encounters in the cell cytoplasm, to animals looking for food or mates in natural landscapes, to rescuers during search-and- rescue operations in disaster zones, and to genetic computer algo- rithms exploring parameter spaces. When looking for sparse targets in a homogeneous environment, a combination of ballistic and diffusive steps is considered optimal; in particular, more ballistic Lévy flights with exponent α ≤ 1 are generally believed to optimize the search process. However, most search spaces present complex to- pographies. What is the best search strategy in these more realistic scenarios? Here we show that the topography of the environment significantly alters the optimal search strategy towards less ballistic and more Brownian strategies. We consider an active particle performing a blind cruise search for non-regenerating sparse targets in a two-dimensional space with steps drawn from a Lévy distribution with exponent varying from α = 1 to α = 2 (Brownian). We demon- strate that, when boundaries, barriers and obstacles are present, the optimal search strategy depends on the topography of the environ- ment with α assuming intermediate values in the whole range under consideration. We interpret these findings using simple scaling arguments and discuss their robustness to varying searcher’s size. Our results are relevant for search problems at different length scales, from animal and human foraging, to microswimmers’ taxis, to bio- chemical rates of reaction.

Abnormal Structural Brain Connectome in Preclinical Alzheimer published in Cerebral Cortex

Abnormal structural brain connectome in individuals with preclinical Alzheimer’s disease

Abnormal structural brain connectome in individuals with preclinical Alzheimer’s disease
Joana B. Pereira, Danielle van Westen, Erik Stomrud, Tor Olof Strandberg, Giovanni Volpe, Eric Westman & Oskar Hansson
Cerebral Cortex, accepted (2017)
DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhx236

Alzheimer’s disease has a long preclinical phase during which amyloid pathology and neurodegeneration accumulate in the brain without producing overt cognitive deficits. It is currently unclear whether these early disease stages are associated with a progressive disruption in the communication between brain regions that subsequently leads to cognitive decline and dementia. In this study we assessed the organization of structural networks in cognitively normal (CN) individuals harboring amyloid pathology (A+N−), neurodegeneration (A−N+), or both (A+N+) from the prospective and longitudinal Swedish BioFINDER study. We combined graph theory with diffusion tensor imaging to investigate integration, segregation, and centrality measures in the brain connectome in the previous groups. At baseline, our findings revealed a disrupted network topology characterized by longer paths, lower efficiency, increased clustering and modularity in CN A−N+ and CN A+N+, but not in CN A+N−. After 2 years, CN A+N+ showed significant abnormalities in all global network measures, whereas CN A−N+ only showed abnormalities in the global efficiency. Network connectivity and organization were associated with memory in CN A+N+ individuals. Altogether, our findings suggest that amyloid pathology is not sufficient to disrupt structural network topology, whereas neurodegeneration is.


Featured in “Nuke med helps diagnose early Alzheimer’s from amyloid network topology”, HealthImaging, 14 Nov 2017

BRAPH published in Plos ONE

BRAPH: A graph theory software for the analysis of brain connectivity

BRAPH: A graph theory software for the analysis of brain connectivity
Mite Mijalkov, Ehsan Kakaei, Joana B. Pereira, Eric Westman & Giovanni Volpe
PLoS ONE 12(8), e0178798 (2017)
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0178798
bioRxiv: 106625

The brain is a large-scale complex network whose workings rely on the interaction between its various regions. In the past few years, the organization of the human brain network has been studied extensively using concepts from graph theory, where the brain is represented as a set of nodes connected by edges. This representation of the brain as a connectome can be used to assess important measures that reflect its topological architecture. We have developed a freeware MatLab-based software (BRAPH–BRain Analysis using graPH theory) for connectivity analysis of brain networks derived from structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), functional MRI (fMRI), positron emission tomography (PET) and electroencephalogram (EEG) data. BRAPH allows building connectivity matrices, calculating global and local network measures, performing non-parametric permutations for group comparisons, assessing the modules in the network, and comparing the results to random networks. By contrast to other toolboxes, it allows performing longitudinal comparisons of the same patients across different points in time. Furthermore, even though a user-friendly interface is provided, the architecture of the program is modular (object-oriented) so that it can be easily expanded and customized. To demonstrate the abilities of BRAPH, we performed structural and functional graph theory analyses in two separate studies. In the first study, using MRI data, we assessed the differences in global and nodal network topology in healthy controls, patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment, and patients with Alzheimer’s disease. In the second study, using resting-state fMRI data, we compared healthy controls and Parkin- son’s patients with mild cognitive impairment.