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Scientists listen to faint sounds inside insects using atomic force microscopy

Date:
September 3, 2010
Source:
Clarkson University
Summary:
Scientists are using atomic force microscopy to record sounds emanating from inside living insects like flies, mosquitoes and ladybugs.

Rendering of a ladybug being recorded by the atomic force microscope (AFM) probe.
Credit: Image courtesy of Clarkson University

A team of Clarkson University scientists led by Prof. Igor Sokolov are using atomic force microscopy (AFM) to record sounds emanating from inside living insects like flies, mosquitoes and ladybugs.

AFM is one of major scientific tools responsible for the emergence of modern nanotechnology.

The unprecedented sensitivity of AFM allowed the Clarkson team to record sub-nano oscillations of very faint amplitude (less than the size of one atom) at high frequencies (up to 1,000 hertz or cycles per second). Previous work in the study of insects was only done at up to 5 hertz. The sounds are recorded by touching the surface of the bugs with an AFM probe.

The study of these sounds may allow researchers to discover unknown features and physiology of insects. Sokolov hopes these discoveries may help in finding solutions to the problems caused by insect pests.

"Insects are of general interest not only as the most numerous and diverse group of animals on the planet, but also as highly efficient bio-machines varying greatly in size," says Sokolov. "Some are major agricultural pests and competitors of humans for crops. Mosquitoes and other insects are important vectors of plant, animal, and human diseases. Also, vast lands of the earth are still underdeveloped because they are occupied by blood-sucking insects."

You can listen to audio files of the internal sounds of mosquitoes, flies, and ladybugs at: http://ftp.aip.org/epaps/appl_phys_lett/E-APPLAB-96-038950 .

The team consisted of Sokolov, who has appointments in Physics, and Chemistry and Biomolecular Science; Maxim Dokukin, a physics postdoctoral fellow; and Nataliia Guz, a physics graduate student; and Sergey Vasilyev, instrumental scientist. The other members of Sokolov's group, physics graduate students Dmytro Volkov, Ravi Gaikwad, and Shyuzhene Li, work on biosensors, self-assembly of particles, and the study of skin aging.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Clarkson University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. E. Dokukin, N. V. Guz, S. Vasilyev, I. Sokolov. Atomic force microscopy to detect internal live processes in insects. Applied Physics Letters, 2010; 96 (4): 043701 DOI: 10.1063/1.3273371

Cite This Page:

Clarkson University. "Scientists listen to faint sounds inside insects using atomic force microscopy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100518124128.htm>.
Clarkson University. (2010, September 3). Scientists listen to faint sounds inside insects using atomic force microscopy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100518124128.htm
Clarkson University. "Scientists listen to faint sounds inside insects using atomic force microscopy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100518124128.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

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