Voronoi diagrams generated by regressing edges of precipitation fronts
de Lacy Costello, B., Hantz, Péter and Ratcliffe, N. M. (2004) Voronoi diagrams generated by regressing edges of precipitation fronts. The Journal of Chemical Physics, 120 (5). pp. 2413-2416. ISSN 0021-9606
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.1635358
This paper details the discovery of a completely new set of chemical pattern forming reactions (discovered by the main author). These incredibly simple inorganic systems exhibit a huge variety of travelling wave phenomena - including spiral waves etc. which are seen in far more complex reactions such as the BZ reaction and in many natural systems. The paper then describes how these new class of chemical reactions can be controlled in order to compute a series of generalised Voronoi diagrams. This is significant because up to this point only "stable reactions" where drops of reagent are added to a gel had been capable of these calculations. By carefully controlling the chemistry, data could be inputted to the processor and when the second reagent was added the calculation was completed in a matter of seconds. The accuracy of the computational results is also much improved due to the data input method and the fact that the sources of the travelling waves are point like. These reactions hold a wider significance as the result of the computation is a physical precipitation so it can be envisaged how this method of control could be utilised in the synthesis of new materials via a directed self-assembly mechanism. In addition they are incredibly useful for modelling natural phenomena.