BioMOCA: A Transport Monte Carlo Model for Ion Channels

T. van der Straaten, G. Kathawala, Umberto Ravaioli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ion channels are proteins that form natural water-filled nanotubes in the membranes of all biological cells. They regulate ion transport in and out of the cell thereby maintaining the correct internal ion composition that is crucial to cell survival and function. Every channel carries a strong permanent charge, which plays a critical role in the conduction mechanisms of the open channel. Many channels can selectively transmit or block a particular ion species and most have switching properties similar to electronic devices. These device-like features are appealing to the electronics community for their possible application in the design of novel bio-devices. Here we describe a three-dimensional (3-D) transport Monte Carlo ion channel simulation, BioMOCA, based on the approach taken in semiconductor device simulations. Since ion diameters are comparable with channel dimensions a physical model of the volume of the ions must also be included.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-237
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Computational Electronics
Issue number2-4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003


  • Monte Carlo simulations
  • ion channels
  • nanodevices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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