Navigation Links
Light that moves and molds gels
Date:8/1/2013

PITTSBURGHSome animalslike the octopus and cuttlefishtransform their shape based on environment, fending off attackers or threats in the wild. For decades, researchers have worked toward mimicking similar biological responses in non-living organisms, as it would have significant implications in the medical arena.

Now, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have demonstrated such a biomimetic response using hydrogelsa material that constitutes most contact lenses and microfluidic or fluid-controlled technologies. Their study, published in Advanced Functional Materials, is the first to show that these gels can be both reconfigured and controlled by light, undergoing self-sustained motiona uniquely biomimetic behavior.

"Imagine an apartment with a particular arrangement of rooms all in one location," said lead author Anna Balazs, Pitt Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering in the Swanson School of Engineering. "Now, consider the possibility of being able to shine a particular configuration of lights on this structure and thereby completely changing not only the entire layout, but also the location of the apartment. This is what we've demonstrated with hydrogels."

Together with Olga Kuksenok, research associate professor in the Swanson School, Balazs experimented with a newer type of hydrogel containing spirobenzopyran molecules. Such materials had been previously shown to form distinct 2-D patterns on initially flat surfaces when introduced to varying displays of light and are hydrophilic ("liking" water) in the dark but become hydrophobic ("disliking" water) under blue light illumination. Therefore, Balazs and Kuksenok anticipated that light could be a useful stimulus for tailoring the gel's shape.

Using computer modeling, the Pitt team demonstrated that the gels "ran away" when exposed to the light, exhibiting direct, sustained motion. The team also factored in heatcombining the light and local variations in temperature to further control the samples' motions. Controlling a material with light and temperature could be applicable, Balazs said, in terms of regulating the movement of a microscopic "conveyor belt" or "elevator" in a microfluidic device.

"This theoretical modeling points toward a new way of configuring the gels into any shape, while simultaneously driving the gels to move due to the presence of light," said Kuksenok.

"Consider, for example, that you could take one sheet of hydrogel and, with the appropriate use of light, fashion it into a lens-shaped object, which could be used in optical applications", added Balazs.

The team also demonstrated that the gels could undergo dynamic reconfiguration, meaning that, with a different combination of lights, the gel could be used for another purpose. Reconfigurable systems are particularly useful because they are reusable, leading to a significant reduction in cost.

"You don't need to construct a new device for every new application," said Balazs. "By swiping light over the system in different directions, you can further control the movements of a system, further regulating the flow of materials."

Balazs said this type of dynamic reconfiguration in response to external cues is particularly advantageous in the realm of functional materials. Such processes, she said, would have a dramatic effect on manufacturing and sustainability, since the same sample could be used and reused for multiple applications.

The team will now study the effect of embedding microscopic fibers into the gel to further control the shape and response of the material to other stimuli.


'/>"/>

Contact: B. Rose Huber
rhuber@pitt.edu
412-624-4356
University of Pittsburgh
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New study shines light on barriers to diabetes care in NYC Bangladeshi community
2. EPA to highlight innovative ways to detect and respond to biological threats
3. Ancient whale species sheds new light on its modern relatives
4. Linking and lightening: New partnership connects and reveals dark data
5. AGU journal highlights for March 29, 2012
6. AGU journal highlights for April 16, 2012
7. Folding light: Wrinkles and twists boost power from solar panels
8. Light weights are just as good for building muscle, getting stronger, researchers find
9. Creating energy from light and air - new research on biofuel cells
10. IBNs Droplet Array sheds light on drug-resistant cancer stem cells
11. The music of the (hemi)spheres sheds new light on schizophrenia
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/22/2016)... -- As part of its longstanding mission to improve genetic literacy ... released its latest children,s book, titled The One ... topics of inheritance and variation of traits that are part ... school classrooms in the US. The book ... Killoran , whose previous book with 23andMe, You ...
(Date:12/20/2016)... , Dec. 20, 2016 The ... sharing, rental and leasing is stoking significant interest ... radio frequency technology, Bluetooth low energy (BLE), biometrics ... as the next wave of wireless technologies in ... access system to advanced access systems opens the ...
(Date:12/19/2016)... , España y TORONTO , 19 de ... con Northern Biologics Inc. que permitirá el desarrollo acelerado de MSC-1, ... clínicos en varios tipos de tumor en 2017, con múltiples sitios ... ... su clase con objetivo en el factor inhibidor de leucemia (LIF), ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/24/2017)... , Jan. 24, 2017  Neogen Corporation (NASDAQ: ... terminated its agreement with SenesTech Incorporated (NASDAQ: ... a rodenticide being developed by SenesTech. The two firms ... time when the SenesTech product was approved by the ... approval provided that the product could only be used ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... and DURHAM, N.C. , ... IRB in customer service and technology, announces that ... the organization as Biosafety Officer. In ... leadership to develop and manage a forthcoming institutional biosafety ... for research organizations navigating the IBC landscape. The new ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... 2017  Asterias Biotherapeutics, Inc. (NYSE MKT: AST), ... medicine, today announced positive efficacy results from the ... showed additional motor function improvement at 6-months and ... in AIS-A patients with complete cervical spinal cord ... motor function is critically important to patients with ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 24, 2017 , ... ... waist circumference, and increased serum leptin levels had a positive association with increased ... The study published in the International Neurourology Journal involved 571 Korean men ...
Breaking Biology Technology: