Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Leaves whisper their properties through ultrasound

04.02.2010
The water content of leaves, their thickness, their density and other properties can now be determined without even having to touch them. A team of researchers from the CSIC Institute of Acoustics and the Agri-Food Research and Technology Centre (CITA) of Aragón has just presented an innovative technique that enables plant leaves to be studied using ultrasound in a quick, simple and non-invasive fashion.

Tomas E. Gómez, one of the authors of the study and researcher at the CSIC Institute of Acoustics, where a technique has been developed to analyse these parts of plants without touching them, explains to SINC that "The method involves establishing a silent dialogue with plant leaves, questioning them and listening to what they say".

The research, recently published in the journal, Applied Physics Letters, demonstrates that some properties of leaves such as thickness, density or compressibility can be determined with this method.

"The voice of the leaves itself is what gives us information about their status and their properties, all in an innocuous and silent way since communication is established by ultrasound, with above-audible frequencies", the scientist indicates.

The technique involves radiating the leaves with broadband ultrasonic pulses (between 0.2 and 2 megahertz), which are emitted through the air from portable devices. In doing so, the leaves start to vibrate and an ultrasonic sensor very similar to the transmitter detects the waves. The signal is then digitalised and the researchers analyse the resonance range, which enables the characteristics of the leaves to be assessed.

The entire process is done in a way that is non-intrusive to the plant. Until now, coupling fluids have been used between the ultrasound transmitter and the material being studied, as is in the case in medicine, for example, when gels or oils are applied to perform an ultrasound.

Listening to leaf moisture

Eustaquio Gil-Pelegrín, co-author of the study and researcher at the Forestry Resources Unit of the Agri-Food Research and Technology Centre (CITA) in Aragón, which has also taken part in the research, explains to SINC that "With this method we can also directly estimate, without contact or interference, the water potential of leaves very accurately".

Information about water content enables us to analyse the loss of turgor in the leaves and the internal morphology of their cell layers, which in turn makes it possible to assess the level of development and to see how they are influenced by environmental factors. Research on the status and water potential of plants helps to diagnose the situation of agricultural and natural systems.

Gil-Pelegrin emphasises the effectiveness of the technique, "even to detect critical moments for plants, such as stomatal closure". Gas and liquid exchange takes places through these pores on the surface of the leaf, and [stomata] opening is determined by factors such as light, CO2 concentration and water availability. For example, when there is a drought the stomata close.

Scientists have successfully applied the ultrasound method to the study of perennial leaves (Prunus laurocerasus and Ligustrum lucidum) and deciduous leaves (Populus x euroamericana and Platanus x hispanica).

The team also took cuttings of some leaves to ascertain water loss over time, and they observed variations in leaf resonance and even water mass loss as little as 1%. The details of this line of research will soon be published in the Journal of Experimental Botany.

References:

T. E. Gómez Álvarez-Arenas, D. Sancho-Knapik, J. J. Peguero-Pina y E. Gil-Pelegrín. "Noncontact and noninvasive study of plant leaves using air-coupled ultrasounds". Applied Physics Letters 95 (19): 193702-1, 2009.

SINC | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.plataformasinc.es

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Significantly more productivity in USP lasers
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Shape matters when light meets atom
05.12.2016 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Simple processing technique could cut cost of organic PV and wearable electronics

06.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

3-D printed kidney phantoms aid nuclear medicine dosing calibration

06.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Robot on demand: Mobile machining of aircraft components with high precision

06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>