Nanotechnology Now





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Ferroelectric switching discovered for first time in soft biological tissue

Jiangyu Li, UW

Electrical response overlaid on the inner aortic wall.
Jiangyu Li, UW

Electrical response overlaid on the inner aortic wall.

Abstract:
The heart's inner workings are mysterious, perhaps even more so with a new finding. Engineers at the University of Washington have discovered an electrical property in arteries not seen before in mammalian tissues.

Ferroelectric switching discovered for first time in soft biological tissue

Seattle, WA | Posted on January 30th, 2012

The researchers found that the wall of the aorta, the largest blood vessel carrying blood from the heart, exhibits ferroelectricity, a response to an electric field known to exist in inorganic and synthetic materials. The findings are being published in an upcoming issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.

"The result is exciting for scientific reasons," said lead author Jiangyu Li, a UW associate professor of mechanical engineering. "But it could also have biomedical implications."

A ferroelectric material is an electrically polar molecule with one side positively charged and the other negatively charged, whose polarity can be reversed by applying an electrical field.

Ferroelectricity is common in synthetic materials and used for displays, memory storage, and sensors. (Related research by Li and colleagues seeks to exploit ferroelectric materials for tiny low-power, high-capacity computer memory chips.)

In the new study, Li collaborated with co-author Katherine Zhang at Boston University to explore the phenomenon in biological tissues. The only previous evidence of ferroelectricity in living tissue was reported last year in seashells. Others had looked in mammal tissue, mainly in bones, but found no signs of the property.

The new study shows clear evidence of ferroelectricity in a sample of a pig aorta. Researchers believe the findings would also apply to human tissue.

In subsequent work, yet to be published, they divided the sample into fibrous collagen and springy elastin and studied each one on its own. Pinpointing the source of the ferroelectricity may answer questions about how or whether it plays a role in the body.

"The elastin network is what gives the artery the mechanical property of elasticity, which of course is a very important function," Li said.

Ferroelectricity may therefore play a role in how the body responds to sugar or fat.

Diabetes is a risk factor for hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. The team is investigating the interactions between ferroelectricity and charged glucose molecules, in hopes of better understanding sugar's effect on the mechanical properties of the aortic walls.

Another possible application is to treat a condition in which cholesterol molecules stick to the inside of the channel, eventually closing it off.

"We can imagine if we could manipulate the polarity of the artery wall, if we could switch it one way or the other, then we might, for example, better understand the deposition of cholesterol which leads to the thickening and hardening of the artery wall," Li said.

He cautions that medical applications are still speculations, and require more research.

"A lot of questions remain to be answered, that's an exciting aspect of the result," Li said.

Co-authors are Yuanming Liu and Qian Nataly Chen at the UW, and Yanhang Zhang and Ming-Jay Chow at Boston University.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Army Research Office, the UW's Center for Nanotechnology and a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Jiangyu Li
206-543-6226

Copyright © University of Washington

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

See also an American Institute of Physics article about the finding:

Related News Press

News and information

Leti Announces Launch of First European Nanomedicine Characterisation Laboratory: Project Combines Expertise of 9 Partners in 8 Countries to Foster Nanomedicine Innovation and Facilitate Regulatory Approval July 1st, 2015

Bruker Introduces Second-Generation Inspire Nanochemical Imaging Solution: Featuring Unique PeakForce IR and IR EasyAlign Technology July 1st, 2015

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Completes Acquisition of IBM Microelectronics Business: Transaction adds differentiating technologies, world-class technologists, and intellectual property July 1st, 2015

Samsung's New Graphene Technology Will Double Life Of Your Lithium-Ion Battery July 1st, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Influential Interfaces Lead to Advances in Organic Spintronics July 1st, 2015

NIST ‘How-To’ Website Documents Procedures for Nano-EHS Research and Testing July 1st, 2015

Ultra-stable JILA microscopy technique tracks tiny objects for hours July 1st, 2015

Proposed TSCA Nanomaterial Rule ‘Premature’, Says Former EPA Toxicologist July 1st, 2015

Nanomedicine

Leti Announces Launch of First European Nanomedicine Characterisation Laboratory: Project Combines Expertise of 9 Partners in 8 Countries to Foster Nanomedicine Innovation and Facilitate Regulatory Approval July 1st, 2015

Carnegie Mellon chemists characterize 3-D macroporous hydrogels: Methods will allow researchers to develop new 'smart' materials June 30th, 2015

Chitosan coated, chemotherapy packed nanoparticles may target cancer stem cells June 30th, 2015

Researchers from the UCA, key players in a pioneering study that may explain the origin of several digestive diseases June 30th, 2015

Discoveries

Influential Interfaces Lead to Advances in Organic Spintronics July 1st, 2015

Ultra-stable JILA microscopy technique tracks tiny objects for hours July 1st, 2015

Emergence of a 'devil's staircase' in a spin-valve system July 1st, 2015

Measurement of Tiny Amounts of Heavy Metals in Baby Food Samples July 1st, 2015

Announcements

Leti Announces Launch of First European Nanomedicine Characterisation Laboratory: Project Combines Expertise of 9 Partners in 8 Countries to Foster Nanomedicine Innovation and Facilitate Regulatory Approval July 1st, 2015

Bruker Introduces Second-Generation Inspire Nanochemical Imaging Solution: Featuring Unique PeakForce IR and IR EasyAlign Technology July 1st, 2015

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Completes Acquisition of IBM Microelectronics Business: Transaction adds differentiating technologies, world-class technologists, and intellectual property July 1st, 2015

Samsung's New Graphene Technology Will Double Life Of Your Lithium-Ion Battery July 1st, 2015

Military

Graphene flexes its electronic muscles: Rice-led researchers calculate electrical properties of carbon cones, other shapes June 30th, 2015

The peaks and valleys of silicon: Team of USC Viterbi School of Engineering Researchers introduce new layered semiconducting materials as silicon alternative June 27th, 2015

Opening a new route to photonics Berkeley lab researchers find way to control light in densely packed nanowaveguides June 27th, 2015

World’s 1st Full-Color, Flexible, Skin-Like Display Developed at UCF June 24th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project