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Data from: Collision and annihilation of nonlinear sound waves and action potentials at interfaces

Cite this dataset

Shrivastava, Shamit; Kang, Kevin H.; Schneider, Matthias F. (2019). Data from: Collision and annihilation of nonlinear sound waves and action potentials at interfaces [Dataset]. Dryad.


Nerve impulses, previously proposed as manifestations of nonlinear acoustic pulses localized at the plasma membrane, can annihilate upon collision. However, whether annihilation of acoustic waves at interfaces takes place is unclear. We previously showed the propagation of nonlinear sound waves that propagate as solitary waves above a threshold (super-threshold) excitation in a lipid monolayer near a phase transition. Here we investigate the interaction of these waves. Sound waves were excited mechanically via a piezo cantilever in a lipid monolayer at the air-water interface and their amplitude is reported before and after a collision. The compression amplitude was observed via Förster resonance energy transfer between donor and acceptor dyes, measured at fixed points along the propagation path in the lipid monolayer. We provide direct experimental evidence for the annihilation of two super-threshold interfacial pulses upon head-on collision in a lipid monolayer and conclude that sound waves propagating in a lipid interface can interact linearly, nonlinearly, or annihilate upon collision depending on the state of the system. Thus we show that main characteristics of nerve impulses, i.e. solitary character, velocity, couplings, all-or-none behavior, threshold and even annihilation are also demonstrated by nonlinear waves in a lipid monolayer, where they follow directly from the thermodynamic principles applied to an interface. As these principles are equally unavoidable in a nerve membrane, our observations strongly suggest that the underlying physical basis of action potentials and the observed nonlinear-pules is identical.

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