A huge step has been taken in the subject of invisibility, which is the subject of science fiction books and movies. Scientists managed to make the cells of the human kidney transparent.
Invisibility is one of the things that have been decorating science fiction works for years. Books were written on this topic, films were shot, and apparently a very important step was taken towards invisibility.
The most known work on invisibility is The Invisible Man, which belongs to H. G. Wells, one of the biggest names in the science fiction world. In this work of H. G. Wells, a scientist reaches invisibility by changing the refractive index of the skin. The scientist Griffin in Wells’ novel manages to match the refractive index of human skin, 1.4, to 1, the refractive index of air.
To be invisible:
This idea is actually leaning against real science. If you match the refractive index of an object to the refractive index of a liquid such as oil, you can make the object disappear. Scientists have also discovered a way to change the refractive index of human kidney cells to resemble the environment, using the protein found in an ink fish. Although not completely invisible, this mixture is almost completely transparent when mixed with salt solution.
In his statement to Inverse, Alon Gorodetsky, a chemical and biomolecular engineer from the University of California, lead author of the research, said that his goal was to use this technology to make human skin invisible. In addition, this technology can be used in many different areas from aesthetic surgeries to cell imaging.
There are cells called leukophore cells in the body of head-legged creatures such as squid and octopus. These can distribute the entire spectrum of visible light. Normally these creatures look like milky white, but they can also disperse the filtered light from sea water, which allows them to be camouflaged in their environment.
The leukophore cells found in coastal squid can scatter light by revealing the protein called ‘reflectin A1’. Gorodetsky and his team also modified the underdeveloped human kidney cells to reveal this protein. In this way, the team has obtained particles that scatter the light. Another important point is that the team has found a way to manipulate the transparency of these cells by changing the actual size of these light scattering particles. Gorodetsky says they can increase the size of these particles by adding salt solution.
The team placed these cells in two parts containing different concentrations of sodium chloride to test their discovery. While cells were exposed to low salt density, they were observed to be visible transparency, while cells exposed to higher salt density were observed to reflect more light and to be visible opacity, but were still more easily visible than before.
This change means that the change in transparency is adjustable. This allows scientists to change the degree of transparency. As a result, more space is being opened for the use of such transparent cells.
Scientists have already managed to make completely transparent human organs or a visible mouse brain using different techniques, but Gorodetsky’s method can be adjusted and applied to a single specific cell. Gorodetsky says that thanks to this method, the wounds on the body can be hidden.
“We want to make human skin can change its transparency just like a squid skin, but this is a very challenging and heavy project,” said Gorodetsky. We are just at the beginning of doing this, but that is what excites me to go to work when I wake up in the morning. ”