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Active Matter

A soft active matter that can climb walls

Mechanical activity of an active fluid can be used to control its dynamics at the boundaries
Science
11 Aug 2022
Vol 377, Issue 6607
pp. 710-711

Abstract

If you mix fruit syrups with alcohol to make a schnapps, the two liquids will remain perfectly blended forever. But if you mix oil with vinegar to make a vinaigrette, the oil and vinegar will soon separate back into their previous selves. Such liquid-liquid phase separation is a thermodynamically driven phenomenon and plays an important role in many biological processes (1). Although energy injection at the macroscale can reverse the phase separation—a strong shake is the normal response to a separated vinaigrette—little is known about the effect of energy added at the microscopic level on phase separation. This fundamental question has deep ramifications, notably in biology, because active processes also make the interior of a living cell different from a dead one. On page 768 of this issue, Adkins et al. (2) examine how mechanical activity at the microscopic scale affects liquid-liquid phase separation and allows liquids to climb surfaces.

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References and Notes

1
A. A. Hyman, C. A. Weber, F. Jülicher, Annu. Rev. Cell Dev. Biol. 30, 39 (2014).
2
R. Adkins et al., Science 377, 768 (2022).
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M. E. Cates, J. Tailleur, Annu. Rev. Condens. Matter Phys. 6, 219 (2015).
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V. Soni et al., Nat. Phys. 15, 1188 (2019).
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S. Shankar et al., at. Rev. Phys. 4, 380 (2022).

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Science
Volume 377 | Issue 6607
12 August 2022

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Published in print: 12 August 2022

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Jérémie Palacci [email protected]
Institute of Science and Technology Austria, 3400 Klosterneuburg, Austria.

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