Scientists are envious of nature because of its ability to build up highly complex structures like organs and tissues in an ordered fashion without any problem; it takes a great deal of effort for scientists to produce defined microscale structures.
Pierre Schaaf and a team of scientists from Strasbourg have now imitated a few of nature¡¯s tricks in order to get a polymer film to ¡°grow¡± onto a surface. As the researchers report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, they used morphogens as nature does. These signal molecules show a reaction which way it should go.
The growth of our bones, seashells, or the complicated forms of diatoms, requires the processes involved in biomineralization to occur along precisely controlled tracks. Molecules cannot simply be allowed to react in an uncontrolled fashion as soon as they encounter each other.
In order for a complex organism to develop, every individual cell must know where it is located within a growing organ. Special signal molecules called morphogens inform the cell. They are formed in a specific location and then spread out into the surrounding tissue. This results in concentration gradients, which the cells can use to ¡°orient¡± themselves.
Schaaf and his co-workers chose a similar strategy to form thin films on a substrate. They also used a sort of morphogen to steer the process. The reactants involved were polymers, one containing azide groups (¨CN3) and the other with alkyne groups (¨CC¡ÔCH) as side chains. In the presence of positively charged copper ions (CuI), these groups react with each other to form a carbon- and nitrogen-containing five-membered ring, crosslinking the polymers. This type of reaction is called ¡°click chemistry¡±, because the reaction partners simply snap together.
In a solution containing both click partner and CuI ions, the reaction would immediately proceed at random. This would not result in a thin polymer film. The scientists¡¯ idea was thus to place the CuI ions as a morphogen only on the surface to be coated. Their approach was to place CuII ions in the solution. They then applied an electric voltage to the surface. When CuII ions come into contact with this surface, they take an electron to become CuI. These are thus primarily to be found on the surface. Where there are CuI ions, the click reaction can proceed; the polymers only crosslink into a continuous film on the surface. The magnitude of the applied voltage can be used to control the number of CuI ions and thus the thickness of the film.
Microscope measures muscle weakness
16.11.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Good preparation is half the digestion
16.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences