Inertia does not generally affect the long-time diffusion of passive overdamped particles in fluids. Yet a model starting from the Langevin equation predicts a surprising property of particles coated with ligands that bind reversibly to surface receptors: heavy particles diffuse more slowly than light ones of the same size. We show this by simulation and by deriving an analytic formula for the mass-dependent diffusion coefficient in the overdamped limit. We estimate the magnitude of this effect for a range of biophysical ligand-receptor systems, and find it is potentially observable for tailored micronscale DNA-coated colloids.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Physics and Astronomy