We study the liquid-crystalline phase behavior of a concentrated suspension of helical flagella isolated from Salmonella typhimurium. Flagella are prepared with different polymorphic states, some of which have a pronounced helical character while others assume a rodlike shape. We show that the static phase behavior and dynamics of chiral helices are very different when compared to simpler achiral hard rods. With increasing concentration, helical flagella undergo an entropy-driven first order phase transition to a liquid-crystalline state having a novel chiral symmetry.
We investigated geographic patterns of herbivory and resource allocation to defense, growth, and reproduction in an invasive biennial, Alliaria petiolata, to test the hypothesis that escape from herbivory in invasive species permits enhanced growth and lower production of defensive chemicals. We quantified herbivore damage, concentrations of sinigrin, and growth and reproduction inside and outside herbivore exclusion treatments, in field populations in the native and invasive ranges. As predicted, unmanipulated plants in the native range (Hungary, Europe) experienced greater herbivore damage than plants in the introduced range (Massachusetts and Connecticut, USA), providing evidence for enemy release, particularly in the first year of growth. Nevertheless, European populations had consistently larger individuals than US populations (rosettes were, for example, eightfold larger) and also had greater reproductive output, but US plants produced larger seeds at a given plant height. Moreover, flowering plants showed significant differences in concentrations of sinigrin in the invasive versus native range, although the direction of the difference was variable, suggesting the influence of environmental effects. Overall, we observed less herbivory, but not increased growth or decreased defense in the invasive range. Geographical differences in performance and leaf chemistry appear to be due to variation in the environment, which could have masked evolved differences in allocation.
A light beam changes direction as it enters a liquid at an angle from another medium, such as air. Should the liquid contain molecules that lack mirror symmetry, then it has been predicted by Fresnel that the light beam will not only change direction, but will actually split into two separate beams with a small difference in the respective angles of refraction. Here we report the observation of this phenomenon. We also demonstrate that the angle of reflection does not equal the angle of incidence in a chiral medium. Unlike conventional optical rotation, which depends on the path-length through the sample, the reported reflection and refraction phenomena arise within a few wavelengths at the interface and thereby suggest a new approach to polarimetry that can be used in microfluidic volumes.
Dynamical instrument limitations, such as finite detection bandwidth, do not simply add statistical errors to fluctuation measurements, but can create significant systematic biases that affect the measurement of steady-state properties. Such effects must be considered when calibrating ultra-sensitive force probes by analyzing the observed Brownian fluctuations. In this article, we present a novel method for extracting the true spring constant and diffusion coefficient of a harmonically confined Brownian particle that extends the standard equipartition and power spectrum techniques to account for video-image motion blur. These results are confirmed both numerically with a Brownian dynamics simulation, and experimentally with laser optical tweezers.
Chiral liquids rotate the plane of polarization of linearly polarized light and are therefore optically active. Here we show that optical rotation can be observed in the frequency domain. A chiral liquid introduced in a fiber-loop ring resonator that supports left and right circularly polarized modes gives rise to relative frequency shifts that are a direct measure of the liquid's circular birefringence and hence of its optical activity. The effect is in principle not diminished if the circumference of the ring is reduced. The technique is similarly applicable to refractive index and linear birefringence measurements.