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Lupin's avatar

For Microbiologists, Chemists, Researchers – Can you think of a use for this material in your work?

Asked by Lupin (4385points) July 27th, 2009

I was just made aware of a large source of material with very special properties. It is a flexible film that can either be polycarbonate or PMMA and can have two types of surface structure: domed or prismatic. The domes are 8 µm high and 30 µm in diameter. Think 4x the size of a blood cell or chloroplast. The prismatic version has ridges spaced 60 µm apart and 1400 µm wide. Both the polycarbonate and PMMA are clear. The manufacturer developed this for its optical characteristics. I think there are other applications out there and the “Collective” with its wide variety of backgrounds and technical skills might be a good place to brainstorm. We’ve certainly brainstormed every other kind of subject.
I’m not an organic chemist, but I’m thinking of doping the material with a catalyst and using it as an improved reaction surface. I imagine CO2 gas injected into one side of the stack, water into another side and sunshine passing through a layer to produce something like : 6 CO2 + 12 H2O + solar energy —> C6H12O6 (carbohydrate such as glucose) + 6 O2 + 6 H2O like an artificial chloroplast.
One researcher has isolated cells and is now trying to use a stack of this as a scaffold/substrate to make an artificial organ.
Do you have a use for this? Make amino acids? DNA work? Drug manufacturing? Biofuel production? It seems there are many possibilities beyond optics. Get creative and fantasize a little.

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1 Answer

Bugabear's avatar

Im not an expert but Ive got a feeling that its probably got a very good use in nanotechnology in some way. Is the inside hollow? Might be good for holding micro bacteria or Viruses.

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