Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization show new mechanism of self-organization of living matter.
Sensing each other through chemistry
Mixtures of producer and consumer particles can self-organize in many ways. From left to right: formation of small self-propelled molecules composed of just a few particles; complete separation of producers and consumers into distinct clusters; aggregation into a static cluster with precise composition; aggregation into a self-propelled comet-like cluster.
Combining theory and computer simulations, the researchers studied the behaviour of mixtures of different particle species, which produce or consume a chemical signal to which they may in turn be attracted or repelled.
Depending on the characteristics of each species, as well as on the ratios in which the species are mixed, they found that the particles will spontaneously aggregate together or separate in a myriad of different configurations.
Mixtures of one producer species and one consumer species, for example, may completely separate into two distinct clusters under certain conditions, but under different conditions they may aggregate together into a cluster with a precisely defined composition. Even more spectacularly, these clusters may spontaneously start self-propelling in a comet-like fashion, with a close-packed group of producers being chased by a tail of consumers, or vice versa.
Breaking Newton’s third law
Indeed, according to Agudo-Canalejo and Golestanian, a peculiarity of these chemical-mediated interactions is that they effectively break Newton's third law of equal action and reaction: for example, a particle of one species may be attracted to a particle of the other species, but the second one may be repelled from the first one, so that one particle ends up chasing the other.
These and other peculiarities are a direct consequence of the chemical activity that characterizes living matter, and are responsible for the richness of the self-organization phenomena observed, which would be absent in a non-living system.
“We expect that our minimal model may be applied to a variety of problems in biology and engineering. The self-propelling clusters observed, for example, may be relevant to understand mechanisms of collective migration of cells or microorganisms in heterogeneous tissues or colonies. On a much smaller scale inside the cell, the model may explain why enzymes that participate in common catalytic pathways tend to co-localize, an observation that until now had no generic explanation,” says Jaime Agudo-Canalejo, first author of the study.
MPI director Ramin Golestanian adds: “We also envisage applications in the engineering of active materials, which may spontaneously assemble from synthetic particles that catalyze chemical reactions.”
Carolin Hoffrogge | Max-Planck-Institut für Dynamik und Selbstorganisation
Tuning the energy levels of organic semiconductors
04.07.2019 | Technische Universität Dresden
Tiny supersonic jet injector accelerates nanoscale additive manufacturing
03.07.2019 | Georgia Institute of Technology
An interdisciplinary research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has built platinum nanoparticles for catalysis in fuel cells: The new size-optimized catalysts are twice as good as the best process commercially available today.
Fuel cells may well replace batteries as the power source for electric cars. They consume hydrogen, a gas which could be produced for example using surplus...
The fly agaric with its red hat is perhaps the most evocative of the diverse and variously colored mushroom species. Hitherto, the purpose of these colors was...
Physicists at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg report the first result of the new Alphatrap experiment. They measured the bound-electron g-factor of highly charged (boron-like) argon ions with unprecedented precision of 9 digits. In comparison with a new highly accurate quantum electrodynamic calculation they found an excellent agreement on a level of 7 digits. This paves the way for sensitive tests of QED in strong fields like precision measurements of the fine structure constant α as well as the detection of possible signatures of new physics. [Physical Review Letters, 27 June 2019]
Quantum electrodynamics (QED) describes the interaction of charged particles with electromagnetic fields and is the most precisely tested physical theory. It...
For the first time ever, experimental physicists have been able to influence the magnetic moment of materials in sync with their electronic properties. The coupled optical and magnetic excitation within one femtosecond corresponds to an acceleration by a factor of 200 and is the fastest magnetic phenomenon that has ever been observed.
Electronic properties of materials can be directly influenced via light absorption in under a femtosecond (10-15 seconds), which is regarded as the limit of...
From June 25th to 27th 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau (Germany) will be presenting a new solution for acoustic quality inspection allowing contact-free, non-destructive testing of manufactured parts and components. The method which has reached Technology Readiness Level 6 already, is currently being successfully tested in practical use together with a number of industrial partners.
Reducing machine downtime, manufacturing defects, and excessive scrap
24.06.2019 | Event News
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
04.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
04.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
04.07.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering