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Concept: Aspect ratio


Hyper-elongated structures and their penetration are widespread among insects, for example, intromittent organs, ovipositors, and piercing-sucking mouthparts. The penetration of thin structures with high aspect ratio without buckling and rupturing is mechanically very challenging. However, this problem is economically solved in nature, and the solutions might be helpful for, for example, in the development of harmless catheters. We focus on the penetration process of a hyper-elongated structure of a cassidine beetle intromittent organ, termed a flagellum. We applied a three-point bending test for the flagellum to measure its bending stiffness along the entire flagellum. We demonstrated the bending stiffness gradient, in which the basal half is relatively stiff and the apical half is softer, whose good performance during copulation had been previously numerically demonstrated. The stiffness gradient is the result of the flagellum shape, which is cylindrical and tapered toward the tip. Moreover, the curved tip comprises a harder outer curve and a softer inner curve. Considering the findings of preceding studies, the flagellum works in the following way: (i) the bending stiffness gradient supports the flagellum, easily fitting to a shape of a highly coiled spermathecal duct, (ii) the stiffness property of the very tip may make the tip tougher, and (iii) the curled tip and homogeneously cylindrical shape of the organ help the very tip to fit the shape of the spermathecal duct of the female. Our study shows that the apparently simple flagellum penetration is achieved with numerous elaborate mechanical adaptations.

Concepts: Structure, 2000s music groups, Elasticity, Aspect ratio, Penis, Elastic modulus, Intromittent organ


Three-dimensional (3D) hierarchical materials are important to a wide range of emerging technological applications. We report a method to synthesize complex 3D microengineered materials, such as microlattices, with nearly fully dense truss elements with a minimum diameter of approximately 20 μm and having high aspect ratios (up to 20:1) without using any templating or supporting materials. By varying the postprocessing conditions, we have also introduced an additional control over the internal porosity of the truss elements to demonstrate a hierarchical porous structure with an overall void size and feature size control of over five orders of magnitudes in length scale. The method uses direct printing of nanoparticle dispersions using the Aerosol Jet technology in 3D space without templating or supporting materials followed by binder removal and sintering. In addition to 3D microlattices, we have also demonstrated directly printed stretchable interconnects, spirals, and pillars. This assembly method could be implemented by a variety of microdroplet generation methods for fast and large-scale fabrication of the hierarchical materials for applications in tissue engineering, ultralight or multifunctional materials, microfluidics, and micro-optoelectronics.

Concepts: Method acting, Ratio, Demonstration, Porosity, Printing, Aspect ratio, Ratios, Truss


Morphology can be adaptive through its effect on performance of an organism. The effect of performance may, however, be modulated by behavior; an organism may choose a behavioral option that does not fully utilize its maximum performance. Behavior may therefore be decoupled from morphology and performance. To gain insight into the relationships between these levels of organization, we combined morphological data on defensive structures with measures of defensive performance, and their utilization in defensive behavior. Scorpion species show significant variation in the morphology and performance of their main defensive structures; their chelae (pincers) and the metasoma (“tail”) carrying the stinger. Our data show that size-corrected pinch force varies to almost two orders of magnitude among species, and is correlated with chela morphology. Chela and metasoma morphology are also correlated to the LD50 of the venom, corroborating the anecdotal rule that dangerously venomous scorpions can be recognized by their chelae and metasoma. Analyses of phylogenetic independent contrasts show that correlations between several aspects of chela and metasoma morphology, performance and behavior are present. These correlations suggest co-evolution of behavior with morphology and performance. Path analysis found a performance variable (pinch force) to partially mediate the relationship between morphology (chela aspect ratio) and behavior (defensive stinger usage). We also found a correlation between two aspects of morphology: pincer finger length correlates with the relative “thickness” (aspect ratio) of the metasoma. This suggests scorpions show a trade-off between their two main weapon complexes: the metasoma carrying the stinger, and the pedipalps carrying the chelae.

Concepts: Species, Correlation and dependence, Aspect ratio, Venom, Scorpion


We show that multi-level diffractive microstructures can enable broadband, on-axis transmissive holograms that can project complex full-color images, which are invariant to viewing angle. Compared to alternatives like metaholograms, diffractive holograms utilize much larger minimum features (>10 µm), much smaller aspect ratios (<0.2) and thereby, can be fabricated in a single lithography step over relatively large areas (>30 mm ×30 mm). We designed, fabricated and characterized holograms that encode various full-color images. Our devices demonstrate absolute transmission efficiencies of >86% across the visible spectrum from 405 nm to 633 nm (peak value of about 92%), and excellent color fidelity. Furthermore, these devices do not exhibit polarization dependence. Finally, we emphasize that our devices exhibit negligible absorption and are phase-only holograms with high diffraction efficiency.

Concepts: Diffraction, Optics, Fundamental physics concepts, Electromagnetic radiation, Holography, Sound, Aspect ratio, Diffraction grating


Nanotechnology, with its broad impact on societally relevant applications, relies heavily on the availability of accessible nanofabrication methods. Even though a host of such techniques exists, the flexible, inexpensive, on-demand and scalable fabrication of functional nanostructures remains largely elusive. Here we present a method involving nanoscale electrohydrodynamic ink-jet printing that may significantly contribute in this direction. A combination of nanoscopic placement precision, soft-landing fluid dynamics, rapid solvent vapourization, and subsequent self-assembly of the ink colloidal content leads to the formation of scaffolds with base diameters equal to that of a single ejected nanodroplet. The virtually material-independent growth of nanostructures into the third dimension is then governed by an autofocussing phenomenon caused by local electrostatic field enhancement, resulting in large aspect ratio. We demonstrate the capabilities of our electrohydrodynamic printing technique with several examples, including the fabrication of plasmonic nanoantennas with features sizes down to 50 nm.

Concepts: Fluid dynamics, Nanotechnology, Liquid, Printing, Inkjet printer, Ink, Aspect ratio, Ink cartridge


BACKGROUND:: Studies of the health effects of non-asbestiform asbestos minerals remain inconclusive. Nephrite is a type of non-asbestiform tremolite mineral. We assessed the risk for pulmonary fibrosis in workers who process nephrite. METHODS:: A cross-sectional study that included 344 stone workers and their families was undertaken in Taiwan in 2010. The diagnostic criteria for pulmonary fibrosis included (1) radiographic fibrosis profusion of 1/1 or greater and (2) audible lung crackles confirmed by physician. The nephrite samples were analyzed using polarized light and transmission electron microscopy combined with selected-area electron diffraction and energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy. RESULTS:: After excluding 16 subjects with histories of tuberculosis or previous employment in metal casting and welding, as well as 23 family members who had not worked in the stone industry, we analyzed 305 subjects. Processing nephrite increased the risk for pulmonary fibrosis (odds ratio = 2.8 [95% confidence interval = 1.0-9.9] and unchanged after adjustment for age and smoking). Bulk sample analyses showed that the nephrite is a tremolite mineral composed of both asbestiform and non-asbestiform components. The cat’s-eye nephrite had the highest asbestiform fibrous content, and the average length and aspect ratio of elongated mineral particles were the highest of all the nephrite types. Compared with workers processing other types of nephrite, workers processing cat’s-eye nephrite had the highest risk for pulmonary fibrosis. CONCLUSION:: Processing non-asbestiform tremolite mineral may increase the risk for pulmonary fibrosis. Medical monitoring is warranted for workers with such exposure.

Concepts: Electron, X-ray, Transmission electron microscopy, Scanning electron microscope, Aspect ratio, Asbestos, Silicate minerals, Amphibole


Gold nanorods exhibit rich colours owing to the nearly linear dependence of the longitudinal plasmon resonance wavelength on the length-to-diameter aspect ratio. This property of Au nanorods has been utilized in this work for dyeing fabrics. Au nanorods of different aspect ratios were deposited on both cotton and silk fabrics by immersing them in Au nanorod solutions. The coating of Au nanorods makes the fabrics exhibit a broad range of colours varying from brownish red through green to purplish red, which are essentially determined by the longitudinal plasmon wavelength of the deposited Au nanorods. The colorimetric values of the coated fabrics were carefully measured for examining the colouring effects. The nanorod-coated cotton fabrics were found to be commercially acceptable in washing fastness to laundering tests and colour fastness to dry cleaning tests. Moreover, the nanorod-coated cotton and silk fabrics show significant improvements on both UV-protection and antibacterial functions. Our study therefore points out a promising approach for the use of noble metal nanocrystals as dyeing materials for textile applications on the basis of their inherent localized plasmon resonance properties.

Concepts: Ratio, Color, Aspect ratio, Ratios, Textile, Primary color, Silk, Tertiary color


Gold nanorods with three different aspect ratios were prepared and their dual capabilities for two-photon imaging and two-photon photodynamic therapy have been demonstrated. These gold nanorods exhibit large two-photon absorption action cross-sections, about two orders of magnitude larger than small organic molecules, which makes them suitable for two-photon imaging. They can also effectively generate singlet oxygen under two-photon excitation, significantly higher than traditional photosensitizers such as Rose Bengal and Indocyanine Green. Such high singlet oxygen generation capability under two-photon excitation was ascribed to their large two-photon absorption cross-sections. Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) coated gold nanorods displayed excellent biocompatibility and high cellular uptake efficiency. The two-photon photodynamic therapy effect and two-photon fluorescence imaging properties of PVP coated gold nanorods have been successfully demonstrated on HeLa cells in vitro using fluorescence microscopy and indirect XTT assay method. These gold nanorods thus hold great promise for imaging guided two-photon photodynamic therapy for the treatment of various malignant tumors.

Concepts: Protein, Oxygen, Cancer, Two-photon excitation microscopy, Aspect ratio, Singlet oxygen, Photodynamic therapy, Rose bengal


Tetanus toxoid protein has been characterized with regard oligomeric state and hydrodynamic (low-resolution) shape, important parameters with regard its use in glycoconjugate vaccines. From sedimentation velocity and sedimentation equilibrium analysis in the analytical ultracentrifuge tetanus toxoid protein is shown to be mostly monomeric in solution (~86%) with approximately 14% dimer. The relative proportions do not appear to change significantly with concentration, suggesting the two components are not in reversible equilibrium. Hydrodynamic solution conformation studies based on high precision viscometry, combined with sedimentation data show the protein to be slightly extended conformation in solution with an aspect ratio ~3. The asymmetric structure presents a greater surface area for conjugation with polysaccharide than a more globular structure, underpinning its popular choice as a conjugation protein for glycoconjugate vaccines.

Concepts: Protein, Tetanus, Tetanospasmin, Clostridium tetani, Monomer, Globular protein, Oligomer, Aspect ratio


Nearly monodisperse Au nanorods (NRs) with different aspect ratios were separated from home-synthesized polydisperse samples using a gradient centrifugation method. The morphology, size and its distribution, and photo-absorption property were analyzed by transmission electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy and UV-visible spectroscopy. Subsequently, using colloidal Au NRs (36.2 nm ×10.7 nm) with 97.4% yield after centrifugation and Au nanospheres (NSs) (22.9 ± 1.0 nm in diameter) with 97.6% yield as Au substrates, surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectra of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) were recorded using laser excitation at 632.8 nm. Results show that surface enhancement factors (EF) for Au NRs and NSs are 6.2 × 10(5) and 5.7 × 10(4) using 1.0 × 10(-6) M 2,4-D, respectively, illustrating that EF value is a factor of ∼10 greater for Au NRs substrates than for Au NSs substrates. As a result, large EF are a mainly result of chemical enhancement mechanisms. Thus, it is expected that Au NPs can find a comprehensive SERS application in the trace detection of pesticide residues.

Concepts: Electron, Spectroscopy, Scattering, Scientific techniques, Scanning tunneling microscope, Raman scattering, Aspect ratio, Brillouin scattering