June 23, 2014

Ferroelectric switching seen in biological tissues

Measurements taken at the molecular scale have for the first time confirmed a key property that could improve our knowledge of how the heart and lungs function.

University of Washington researchers have shown that a favorable electrical property is present in a type of protein found in organs that repeatedly stretch and retract, such as the lungs, heart and arteries. These findings are the first that clearly track this phenomenon, called ferroelectricity, occurring at the molecular level in biological tissues.