Droplet ripening in concentration gradients


Christoph A. Weber, Chiu Fan Lee, and Frank Jülicher. 2017. “Droplet ripening in concentration gradients.” New Journal of Physics, 19, 5, Pp. 053021.


Living cells use phase separation and concentration gradients to organize chemical compartments in space. Here, we present a theoretical study of droplet dynamics in gradient systems. We derive the corresponding growth law of droplets and find that droplets exhibit a drift velocity and position dependent growth. As a consequence, the dissolution boundary moves through the system, thereby segregating droplets to one end. We show that for steep enough gradients, the ripening leads to a transient arrest of droplet growth that is induced by a narrowing of the droplet size distribution.