Self-assembling microwires may connect biosystems

According to a press release, researchers at North Carolina State University and the University of Delaware have discovered a new method of growing microscopic wires that can conduct electricity in a liquid environment. The study shows that colloidal nanoparticles ñ dispersed particles ranging in size from 15 to 30 nanometers ñ can spontaneously self-assemble into wires when placed under the force of an alternating (AC) electric field, a process known as dielectrophoresis. The microwires are about a micrometer, or one-millionth of a meter, in diameter, and up to a few millimeters long. The formation of these microwires can be controlled and used in rudimentary electrical circuits. The research was published 2 November 2001 issue of Science. An interesting point noted in the press release is that making electrical circuits in wet environments may lead to a host of bioelectrical uses, such as providing electrical connections to living cells and tissues.

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