A theoretical model that "walks" along the wall of a narrow channel as it is pushed through by a solvent is being developed by scientists.
The find could aid them in the development of carrier molecules for delivering drugs at a controlled rate in the body.
Results of the study conducted by Arash Nikoubashman of Heinrich Heine University of Dsseldorf, Germany, indicate that flow through a narrow channel is independent of the number of monomers in the polymer chain.
The linear polymer and the dendrimer both travel in the rapid solvent flow toward the center of the channel.
When patches that attract the polymer are placed on the wall, however, the dendrimer "walks" along the wall from patch to patch, while the linear polymer tends to remain close to the wall, moving very slowly, if at all, through the channel.
"At the moment we are investigating the cargo transport capabilities of dendrimers," says Nikoubashman.
As the dendrimer docks on the patches, it may be possible to deliver the cargo to the dock while the carrier washes away with the flow.
The research is published in The Journal of Chemical Physics.