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  1. Diatoms are a group of single-celled photosynthetic algae that use biochemical pathways to bio-mineralize and self-assemble three-dimensional photonic crystals with unique photonic and micro- & nano-fluidic properties. In recent years, diatom biosilica has been used in surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) based optofluidic sensors for detection of a variety of chemical and biological molecules. In this paper, we present a study to develop a microfluidic pumping system using super-hydrophilic diatom thin films. The desire to develop such a system stems from the requirement to create a low-cost, self-powered microfluidic pumping system that can sustain a continuous flow over an extended periodmore »of time. The diatom biosilica acts not only as the driving force behind the flow, but also serves as ultra-sensitive SERS substrates that allows for trace detection of various molecules. Liquid is drawn from a reservoir to the tip of a 150μm inner diameter capillary tube positioned directly over the diatom film. A thin and long horizontal reservoir is used to prevent flooding on the diatom film when the liquid is initially drawn to the diatom film through a capillary tube from the reservoir. The connection of the meniscus from the capillary to the film was maintained from a horizontal reservoir for a recorded time of 20 hours and 32 minutes before the partially filled reservoir emptied. Flow rates of 0.38, 0.22 and 0.16µL/min were achieved for square biosilica thin films of 49mm2, 25mm2, and 9mm2 at a temperature of 63̊F and 45% relative humidity respectively. A temperature-controlled system was introduced for the 49mm2 substrate and flow rates of 0.60, 0.82, 0.93, and 1.15µL/min were observed at 72, 77, 86, and 95̊F at 21% relative humidity respectively. More testing and analysis will be performed to test the operation limits of the proposed self-powered microfluidic system.« less
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 15, 2022
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  4. The motion of a mechanical object, even a human-sized object, should be governed by the rules of quantum mechanics. Coaxing them into a quantum state is, however, difficult because the thermal environment masks any quantum signature of the object’s motion. The thermal environment also masks the effects of proposed modifications of quantum mechanics at large mass scales. We prepared the center-of-mass motion of a 10-kilogram mechanical oscillator in a state with an average phonon occupation of 10.8. The reduction in temperature, from room temperature to 77 nanokelvin, is commensurate with an 11 orders-of-magnitude suppression of quantum back-action by feedback andmore »a 13 orders-of-magnitude increase in the mass of an object prepared close to its motional ground state. Our approach will enable the possibility of probing gravity on massive quantum systems.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 18, 2022
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