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Issue 17, 2013
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Chemo-responsive, self-oscillating gels that undergo biomimetic communication

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Abstract

Species ranging from single-cell organisms to social insects can undergo auto-chemotaxis, where the entities move towards a chemo-attractant that they themselves emit. Polymer gels undergoing the self-oscillating Belousov–Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction exhibit autonomous, periodic pulsations, which produce chemical species collectively referred to as the activator. The diffusion of this activator into the surrounding solution affects the dynamic behavior of neighboring BZ gels and hence, the BZ gels not only emit, but also respond to self-generated chemical gradients. This review describes recent experimental and computational studies that reveal how this biomimetic behavior effectively allows neighboring BZ gels to undergo cooperative, self-propelled motion. These distinctive properties of the BZ gels provide a route for creating reconfigurable materials that autonomously communicate with neighboring units and thereby actively participate in constructing the desired structures.

Graphical abstract: Chemo-responsive, self-oscillating gels that undergo biomimetic communication

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Article information


Submitted
03 Dec 2012
First published
01 Feb 2013

Chem. Soc. Rev., 2013,42, 7257-7277
Article type
Review Article

Chemo-responsive, self-oscillating gels that undergo biomimetic communication

O. Kuksenok, P. Dayal, A. Bhattacharya, V. V. Yashin, D. Deb, I. C. Chen, K. J. Van Vliet and A. C. Balazs, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2013, 42, 7257
DOI: 10.1039/C3CS35497K

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