Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Oil droplets can navigate complex maze

19.02.2010
Call them oil droplets with a brain or even "chemo-rats." Scientists in Illinois have developed a way to make simple oil droplets "smart" enough to navigate through a complex maze almost like a trained lab rat.

The finding could have a wide range of practical implications, including helping cancer drugs to reach their target and controlling the movement of futuristic nano-machines, the scientists say. Their study is in the weekly Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Bartosz Grzybowski and colleagues note that the ability to solve a maze is a common scientific test of intelligence. Animals ranging from rats to humans can master the task. Scientists would like to pass along that same ability to anti-cancer drugs, for instance, to help these medications navigate complex mazes of blood vessels and reach the tumor.

The scientists describe an advance in that direction. They developed postage-stamp-sized mazes, and infused them with an alkaline solution, and placed a gel containing a strong acid at the exit. That created a pH gradient, a difference between the acid-alkaline levels. Oil droplets containing a weak acid placed at the entrance of the mazes developed convective flows in response to pH differences and propelled themselves along the gradient toward the exit. Since cancer cells are more acidic than other body cells, the experiment may serve as a model for designing new anti-cancer drugs that move along similar acid-based gradients to target diseased cells, the scientists suggest.

ARTICLE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"Maze Solving by Chemotactic Droplets"
Click here for video (6.17 MB):
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/suppl/10.1021/ja9076793/suppl_file/ja9076793_si_002.avi
DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT ARTICLE
http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/ja9076793
CONTACT:
Bartosz Grzybowski, Ph.D.
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Northwestern University
Evanston, Ill. 60208-3112
Phone: 847-491-3024
Fax: 847-491-3728
Email: grzybor@northwestern.edu

Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.acs.org

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>