Where water and oil meet, a two-dimensional world exists. This interface presents a potentially useful set of properties for chemists and engineers, but getting anything more complex than a soap molecule to stay there and behave predictably remains a challenge.
Oil-based liquid crystals are ubiquitous; a deep understanding of their properties is behind the displays found in most computer monitors, televisions and smartphones. Water-based liquid crystals are less well understood, though their biocompatibility makes them a potential candidate for a variety of biological and medical applications.
By Julie McWilliams
By Madeleine Stone @themadstone
None of us would be alive if sperm cells didn’t know how to swim, or if the cilia in our lungs couldn’t prevent fluid buildup. But we know very little about the dynamics of so-called “living fluids,” those containing cells, microorganisms or other biological structures.
By Sarah Welsh
Cancer starts with a single cell going haywire. What is it about that one cell that makes it different from the rest, setting it on a path of destruction? A new program at the University of Pennsylvania may help find an answer to that and many other questions.
Colon cancer is a heavily studied disease — and for good reason. It is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide, and its numbers are on the rise, from 500,000 deaths in 1990 to 700,000 in 2010.
The pistons in your car engine rub up against their cylinder walls thousands of times a minute; without lubrication in the form of motor oil, they and other parts of the engine would quickly wear away, causing engine failure.
The field of metamaterials is all about making structures that have physical properties that aren’t found in nature. Predicting what kinds of structures would have those traits is one challenge; physically fabricating them is quite another, as they often require precise arrangement of constituent materials on the smallest scales.