Northwestern University

Thu 2:00 PM

Professor Seth Fraden: Engineering reaction–diffusion networks with properties of neural tissue

When: Thursday, March 22, 2018
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM  

Where: Technological Institute, F160, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Tina Hoff   847.491.3645

Group: Physics and Astronomy Complex Systems Seminars

Category: Academic


Professor Seth Fraden, Brandeis University

Title: Engineering reaction–diffusion networks with properties of neural tissue

Abstract: We present an experimental system of networks of coupled non-linear nanoliter-scale chemical reactors containing the Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction, which we theoretically model within a reaction-diffusion framework. Microfluidic fabrication techniques are developed that provide the ability to vary the network topology, the reactor coupling strength and offer the freedom to choose whether an arbitrary reactor is inhibitory or excitatory coupled to its neighbor. This versatile experimental and theoretical framework can be used to create a wide variety of chemical networks. Here we design, construct and characterize chemical networks that achieve the complexity of Central Pattern Generators, which are found in the autonomic nervous system of a variety of organisms. We envision that this artificial nervous system can serve as the controller of a synthetic musculature comprised of chemomechanical gels coupled to the BZ layer in order to create soft robots capable of autonomous activity.

Host: Michelle Driscoll

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