Ratchet effect for nanoparticle transport in hair follicles
The motion of a single rigid nanoparticle inside a hair follicle is investigated by means of Brownian dynamics simulations. The cuticular hair structure is modeled as a periodic asymmetric ratchet-shaped surface. Induced by oscillating radial hair motion we find directed nanoparticle transport into the hair follicle with maximal velocity at a specific optimal frequency and an optimal particle size. We observe flow reversal when switching from radial to axial oscillatory hair motion. We also study the diffusion behavior and find strongly enhanced diffusion for axial motion with a diffusivity significantly larger than for free diffusion.