Now two research groups from the University of Cambridge, led by Professor Ray Goldstein of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, and Professor Lynn Gladden of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, have done just that. Their findings are published in volume 642 of Journal of Fluid Mechanics, published by Cambridge University Press.
They have studied the giant cells of the Characean algae – cells that can measure up to 10cm in length and 1mm in diameter. This exceptional size makes the standard methods of distributing material within cells impossible, so Characean algae have long been known to employ ‘conveyor belts’ along their cellular walls to move food and waste around. It is the spatial distribution of the velocity of this movement that has been measured for the first time using state-of-the art magnetic resonance imaging techniques.
The impact of their discoveries and research techniques will be far-reaching. Professor Squires comments: “[The methods used] are incredibly powerful and have the potential to revolutionise our understanding of a wide range of environmentally and industrially relevant fluid flows. The technique is completely non-invasive, requires no flow tracers and can be performed in non-transparent materials."
Looking to the future, Professor Squires stated that this study ‘should serve as a potent reminder that the immense variety of organisms on Earth contains a wealth of expertise that may be mined for biomimetic [i.e. nature-imitating] solutions.’
Hannah Gregory | alfa
Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
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A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
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23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
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23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy