Cover Preview: Nature Magazine – May 26, 2022

Volume 605 Issue 7911

Fluid dynamics

Cilia are characterized by slender, threadlike projections, which are used by biological organisms to control fluid flows at the microscale. Attempts to mimic these structures and engineer cilia-like systems to have broad applications have proved problematic. In this week’s issue, Wei Wang and colleagues present electronically controlled artificial cilia that can be used to create flow patterns in near-surface liquids. The researchers use surface-mounted platinum strips, each about 50 micrometres long, 5 micrometres wide and 10 nanometres thick, and capped on one side with titanium. Applying an oscillating potential with an amplitude of around 1 volt to the cilia drives ions on to and off of the exposed platinum surface. These ions create asymmetric forces that generate a beating pattern that can be used to pump surface liquids in various flow geometries. The cover shows an artist’s impression of the artificial cilia in action.

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