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Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Shared behaviour between Microbes and Electrons

As bacteria stream through a microfluidic lattice, they synchronize and swim in patterns similar to those of electrons flowing through a magnetic material. This image shows a microfluidic 6x6 lattice. The left-hand side shows the original data as seen under the microscope. The overlaid color coding on the right-hand side shows the relative strength of clockwise (purple) or anti-clockwise (green) circulation. (Source: MIT News)
There are some obvious patters we observe to be similar in many objects around. Similarly scientists from MIT and Cambridge University have identified a unique shared pattern between bacteria and electrons. In a microfluidic lattice millions of bacteria are streamed where they synchronize and swim in patters much similar to electrons orbiting around nuclei in a magnetic field. The research was published in the journal Nature Physics in January 4th 2016.

Researchers tuned the microfluidic lattice to certain dimentions where they found that millions of microbes align and swim in same direction, much like the way electrons does while magnetic field is created. With slight changes in lattice, the bacteria flow in opposite directions resembling electrons as in non-magnetic field.

In their initial experiments, they placed the bacteria in smaller pools or wells to observe their swimming patterns. In larger wells, bacteria tend to swim in disorderly fashion. As they compared in smaller wells of about 70microns wide, thousands of bacteria behave in orderly manner, swimming in spiral or in same direction within the well for longer periods of time.

Source: MIT News


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