Thorneywork Group moves to Oxford

From September 2022 the group will have a new home at the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory, University of Oxford. We’re sad to leave so many friends and colleagues in Cambridge but excited for the adventures ahead!

ERC Starting Grant success

Exciting news for the new year! Our group has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant! The project aims to investigate the origins of noise and fluctuations in soft systems driven out of equilibrium using a unique combination of state-of-the-art experimental model systems. These will exploit a huge range of techniques including colloids, microfluidics, optical tweezers, nanopores, nanoparticles and DNA nanotechnology. Alice discusses more about the project here.

To tackle this ambitious project we will soon be recruiting a diverse and interdisciplinary team. Watch this space for more details…


Noise of polymer adsorption paper now on arXiv

Our new paper investigating the noise signatures associated with passive adsorption of polymers in nanopores is now available on arXiv. Here we combine detailed analysis of ionic current traces, Quartz Crystal Microbalance measurements and simulations to explore how characteristic noise in the ionic current trace reflects passive adsorption of polymers to the pore surface.

Publications are like buses… new papers in Science Advances and Phys. Rev. E

In a very exciting week three new papers have  now appeared online!  

In Science Advances, ‘Direct detection of molecular intermediates from first-passage times’ discusses a method to reveal details of energy landscapes from analysis of dynamic properties. Some exciting experimental collaborations with the Bayley group (University of Oxford) and Ritort group (University of Barcelona) and with theorist Anatoly Kolomeisky (Rice University) allowed us to demonstrate how our method can be used to count intermediate states across a diverse range of systems – colloids, biological nanopores and DNA hairpins- which differ in their timescales, length scales and interactions.  

‘Generalized network theory of physical two-dimensional systems’ (online here) also considers how a single analysis links many different systems (here from molecular materials, to colloids to geopolitical regions (!)), this time with respect to the structure of networks describing them. Exciting to have contributed our data to this paper from the Wilson group (University of Oxford). 

Finally, bringing the focus back to colloids, ‘Long-time self-diffusion in quasi-two-dimensional colloidal fluids of paramagnetic particles’ explores the effect (or non-effect…) of hydrodynamic interactions in colloidal monolayers of particles with long-range interactions.  More fascinating work with collaborators Nima Siboni and Jürgen Horbach. 


New paper in Nanotechnology

Our new paper looking at the noise in rectifying and non-rectifying nanopores has just appeared online.

Here,  we studied the behaviour of conical glass nanopores as components in ionic circuits, showing that while net conduction is bulk dominated, the low frequency noise is surface dominated. 

Stuart F. Knowles, Ulrich F. Keyser and Alice L. Thorneywork, ‘Noise properties of rectifying and non-rectifying nanopores’, Nanotechnology, 31 (10), 10LT01 (2019)

Summer conferences

Alice presented work on analysing first passage time distributions to uncover energy landscapes in talks at the 5th International Soft Matter Conference in Edinburgh (June 2019) and the ‘Transport Phenomena in Complex Environments’ conference in Erice, Sicily (September 2019).