Tomography of Reaction-Diffusion Microemulsions Reveals Three-Dimensional Turing Patterns

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Science  10 Feb 2011:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1200815


Spatially periodic, temporally stationary patterns that emerge from instability of a homogeneous steady state were proposed by Turing in 1952 as a mechanism for morphogenesis in living systems and have attracted increasing attention in biology, chemistry, and physics. Patterns found to date have been confined to one or two spatial dimensions. We used tomography to study the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction in a microemulsion that separates the polar and nonpolar components of this reaction on a length scale smaller than that of the reaction wavefronts. We demonstrate the existence of Turing patterns that can exist in only three dimensions, including curved surfaces, hexagonally packed cylinders, spots, and labyrinthine and lamellar patterns.