A fundamental feature of multicellular organisms is their ability to self-repair wounds through the movement of epithelial cells into the damaged area. This collective cellular movement is commonly attributed to a combination of cell crawling and 'purse-string' contraction of a supracellular actomyosin ring. Here we show by direct experimental measurement that these two mechanisms are insufficient to explain force patterns observed during wound closure. At early stages of the process, leading actin protrusions generate traction forces that point away from the wound, showing that wound closure is initially driven by cell crawling. At later stages, we observed unanticipated patterns of traction forces pointing towards the wound. Such patterns have strong force components that are both radial and tangential to the wound. We show that these force components arise from tensions transmitted by a heterogeneous actomyosin ring to the underlying substrate through focal adhesions. The structural and mechanical organization reported here provides cells with a mechanism to close the wound by cooperatively compressing the underlying substrate.
The orbital angular momentum of light represents a fundamentally new optical degree of freedom. Unlike linear momentum, or spin angular momentum, which is associated with the polarization of light, orbital angular momentum arises as a subtler and more complex consequence of the spatial distribution of the intensity and phase of an optical field — even down to the single photon limit. Consequently, researchers have only begun to appreciate its implications for our understanding of the many ways in which light and matter can interact, or its practical potential for quantum information applications. This article reviews some of the landmark advances in the study and use of the orbital angular momentum of photons, and in particular its potential for realizing high-dimensional quantum spaces.