11th March 2022
Figure 2: Membrane deformations induced by actin assembly. A membrane bilayer (pink) constituting an initially spherical liposome is deformed through the growth of a branched actin network (blue marks the colour of the end of actin filaments) at its surface. Spikes (inward) and tubes (outward) are formed during this process. Note that compared to the cell geometry, the geometry here is inside out, as the ingredients of the cytoskeleton are outside the liposome. Bar 5 μm. Copyright: Cécile Sykes, CNRS

How Active Biopolymer Networks Shape the Cell Membrane

Experiments on active deformations of a cell membrane by an actin assembly may inspire new materials and approaches. Cécile Sykes from the Laboratoire de Physique de l‘Ecole Normale Supérieure reports on results raising... (Read more)
8th March 2022
The new concept makes it possible to induce complex behaviour in adaptive and communicating soft matter microsystems. Copyright: Avik Samanta

Towards the Minimalistic Design of Life-like Abiotic Systems

We unravelled polymer-like phase-separation behaviour in multiblock single-stranded DNA which provides an opportunity to fabricate all-DNA protocells with several encoded sequences for post-functionalization with spatio-temporal... (Read more)
19th November 2021
Visualization of the exchange mechanism of telechelic chains in flower-like micelles via a sequence of consecutive equilibrium steps. Diffusion of free telechelic chains is excluded. Reprinted with permission from König N. et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 124, 197801 (2020). Copyright 2020 by the American Physical Society.

Molecular Exchange of Telechelic Polymer Micelles

Telechelic polymers encompass many interesting aspects of soft matter physics – including hierarchical self-assembly, non-Newtonian flow behaviour, and colloidal interactions. Furthermore, they are important as associative thickeners in products used in daily life... (Read more)
3rd August 2020
Schematic representation of the tube dilation in linear-linear and star-linear blends. The undilated tube has a diameter and increases with time as a consequence of constraint release (CR) – relaxation of a given chain driven by the motions of surrounding chains. Copyright: University of the Basque Country

Direct Observation of Tube Dilation in Polymer Blends

Scientists of the University of the Basque Country and Forschungszentrum Jülich exploited the spatial and time resolution of neutron spin echo (NSE) to directly probe the time-dependent tube dilation in blends of entangled... (Read more)
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