23 March 2006

Beta Version: The Coffee Ring effect

In addition to laser-zapping the knees of unfortunate sacrifices to the great Research Hydra, I'm looking for ways to quickly find signs of tissue damage in your biofluids. I'm working on a journal article for this part of my research and here's the beta.
Bottoms up! :) LJS

The “coffee ring” effect. You all have seen it. It’s 3 am and you are at Denny’s (or the Fleetwood or Waffle House); drunk, jones-ing for rye toast and trying to sober up with some sludge otherwise known as coffee, when all of a sudden you knock over a bit of coffee onto the table. A few blissful minutes of blackout later, and...voila! There’s a ring of dried coffee on the table. What is really cool is how the coffee always seems to dry in concentric rings instead of making a uniform dried-out blob. No, it’s not because the cup is there. To us nerds in the Doctor Pirates realm, something as simple as spilling a drop of liquid and watching it dry is really fun and exciting. Egad. Did I just say that? I seriously need to get out more if doing the equivalent of “watching paint dry” is the most exciting thing I’ve done this week.

Not to get all fangirl-y on y’all but this “coffee ring effect” is super fascinating to me, the literature on this subject is the coolest thing I’ve read about since hearing about cavitation forces produced by peacock mantis shrimp. Looks like I’m not the only one to really dig these droplets, I’ve seen more people write about the mechanism of liquids drying. These ring formations has received much attention in the literature, with implications in pharmaceutical crystal screening, proteomics, ligand-target interactions, and physical properties of macromolecules such as DNA or polysaccharides. We’re doing something really rock-n-roll with this concept too. I can’t tell you too much about it, even though we’ve spilled the beans to Uncle Sam already. In a *few* months, you’ll be able to read the patent online and marvel at our deft ability to not only detect ____ as a biomarker for ____ but also break all of the laws of thermodynamics simultaneously.


Dominique said...

You scientist scare me.

Dominique said...

oh yeah & did i mention - scientist scare me! the boogie man makes way more sense - just has bad breath.

Tracy Lynn said...

I only really understood about every third word. And I USED to think I was smart. Yay LJS!

jenny said...

Next week is all-you-can-eat peacock mantis shrimp fest at Red Lobster, and I cannot WAIT!