From at ScienceDaily:
Scientific discoveries often arise from noticing the unexpected. Such was the case when researchers, studying a tiny device that has become increasingly important in disease diagnostics and drug discovery, observed the surprising way it funneled thousands of water droplets into an orderly single file, squeezing them drop by drop, out the tip of the device. Instead of occurring randomly, the droplets followed a predictable pattern. These observations led the researchers to deduce mathematical rules and understand why such rules exist.
“Beyond the immediate relevance to microfluidics, we believe our findings could one day be applied to forming nanocrystals into precise shapes,” Tang said. Researchers do not yet have a way to exert the sort of steady pressure on metal atoms that microfluidic chips can do with oil-separated water droplets. Paper. (paywall) – Ya Gai, Chia Min Leong, Wei Cai, Sindy K. Y. Tang. Spatiotemporal periodicity of dislocation dynamics in a two-dimensional microfluidic crystal flowing in a tapered channel. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016; 201606601 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1606601113 More.
But there is an easy explanation: It all just happens that way, see?
See also: In search of a road to reality
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