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
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Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
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In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
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COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
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'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
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