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Vol. 342 ,
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Electricity Gives Bubbles Super Strength
6 February 2013 1:40 pm
Any kid can blow a soap bubble, but only a physicist would think to electrify one. Left to its own devices, a bubble will weaken and pop as the fluid sandwiched between two thin layers of soap succumbs to gravity and drains toward the floor. But when researchers trapped a bubble between two platinum electrodes (pictured) and cranked up the voltage, the fluid reversed direction and actually flowed up, against the force of gravity. The newly strong and stable bubbles could live for hours, and even visibly change colors as their walls grew fatter, the team reports in the current issue of Physical Review Letters. Because soap film is naturally only nanometers thick, this whimsical experiment could help scientists create more efficient labs-on-chips, the mazes of nanotunnels that can diagnose disease based on the movements of a miniscule drop of blood. Now if you'll excuse us, we're off to do some nanotech experiments of our own. Where's the bubble bath?
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