In a new study of a research group led by Prof. LIU Jing at the CAS Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, together with collaborators from Tsinghua University, biotissue-like rhythmic agglomerates was created via two inanimate liquid materials, water and liquid metals. The researchers introduced the synergistic mechanism of in situ reduction and electrochemical welding so that the as-manufactured hydrous liquid–metal agglomerates (HLMAs) could maintain their structural features during cellular-like growth, floating, and systolic and diastolic rhythms, thus resembling the physiological scene of “brain in a vat.” The core principle is that the reversible redox sparks the rhythm of HLMAs, which undergo rhythmic variation in physical properties while achieving systolic and diastolic rhythms, just as biotissues do during heartbeat and respiratory fluctuation. The researchers demonstrated the unique capacity of liquid matter to generate biorhythms due to its intrinsic aqueous features and spatiotemporal attributes.
The rhythmic synergy of HLMAs is revealed to be dependent on variations in matter, electrochemical energy conversion, and information transfer. With their endowed rhythmic nature, HLMAs offer a new paradigm for the fabrication of metallic bionic tissues that may closely mimic or even transcend biotissues in the coming years.
Schematic for biotissue-like rhythmic hydrous liquid-metal agglomerates. (Image by LIU et. al.)