Interferometric Detection of Stretched WAter Properties and their role in biological systems


Funded by: MUR  
Calls: PRIN 2022
Start date: 2023-09-29  End date: 2025-09-29
Total Budget: EUR 250.574,00  INO share of the total budget: EUR 134.025,00
Scientific manager:    and for INO is: Malara Pietro

Organization/Institution/Company main assignee: CNR – Istituto Nazionale di Ottica (INO)

other Organization/Institution/Company involved:
Università di Napoli “Federico II”

other INO’s people involved:

Abstract: ID-SWAP proposes an innovative optical platform inspired to the hydraulic mechanism of vascular plants to generate negative-pressure in water and measure its physical properties with extreme precision. The system exploits the unique capability of photonic crystal optical fibers (PCFs) to trap a liquid in their microchannels while supporting a guided light mode that interacts with it. As a laser-driven evaporation technique stretches the PCF-infiltrated water to the limits of its cohesive strength, a Michelson interferometer monitors in real-time its refractive index, density and pressure. Besides the characterization of stretched water in stationary conditions, ID-SWAP represents a unique opportunity to study the response of plant’s vascular water to changing external conditions, like strong evaporation or drought. For this task, the infiltrated PCF will be grafted to a live leaf, thus acting as an artificial xylem, to test whether the stretching of vascular water (in absence of root derived hormones) can trigger the leaf stomatal closure. ID-SWAP thus represents the first endeavor to demonstrate that water in vascular plants also acts as an information network.