Microfluidic Networks of the Oscillatory Chemical Reactions

Speaker: Seth Fraden, Brandeis University

When: October 2, 2015 (Fri), 12:00PM to 01:00PM (add to my calendar)
Location: SCI 352

This event is part of the Biophysics/Condensed Matter Seminar Series.

Our goal is to create autonomous, programmable active materials. A bioinspired example is the sinuous motion of a lamprey, in which neurons running down the spinal column are excited in sequence causing the musculature to contract, thereby propelling the lamprey. The control elements mimicking neurons are microscopic chemical reactors containing the Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction, while the actuators mimicking musculature are embodied by gels whose volume is sensitive to the chemistry.

Several microfluidic based experimental systems of networks of non-linear chemical oscillators are presented. The experiments are analyzed with theory for 2D planar arrays of oscillators with nearest neighbor coupling involving both inhibitory and excitatory species. We explore phenomena such as synchronization, oscillator death and assess the number of attractors, as well as their basin of attraction, as a function of the topology of the network and the heterogeneity of the oscillators and their coupling strength.