Philippe Marmottant


Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Physique
CNRS-Universite Grenoble Alpes
Service Courrier UGA
Pôle Phitem- Laboratoire LIPhy
CS 40 700
+33 (0)4 76 51 43 33

Hungry carnivorous plants, part 1

Aquatic carnivorous bladderworts (Utricularia species) catch prey animals with suction traps. High speed video recordings show that the plant "swallows" its prey in less than a millisecond!

The trapdoor morphology is optimized for a fast opening and closure, which we confirm by numerical simulations. It is an elastic valve that buckles inside (entailing opening) and then unbuckles (closure). These precise motions are coupled with a strong suction swirl causing accelerations up to 600g, and leaving little escape chances for prey animals

En français !

Le piège ultra-rapide d'une plante carnivore aquatique (Clip en Version Francaise)

  1. -Article published: "Ultra-fast underwater suction traps" [free preprint here]  in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

The ultrasonic dance of bubbles

Under ultrasound, bubbles pulsate and vibrate intensely. In the movie below we show how they interact without contact, and how they feature a surprising collective "dance" and a crystalline self-organisation.

"Acoustically bound microfluidic bubble crystals" by D. Rabaud, P. Thibault, M. Matthieu, P. Marmottant, published in Physical Review Letters, 106, 134501 (2011).

Hungry carnivorous plants, part 2

In this video, we show that aquatic carnivorous plant swallow water after some time, even if there are no prey animals available. For more details consult the article on Plos ONE.


  1. -New 2023 PhD proposals
    "Understanding the elasticity of plants as a function of turgour pressure"
    "Solving the mystery of embolism repair in plants after a period of drought": see "Jobs"

  2. -Stay of artists in the lab: Lia Giraud and Térence Meunier on the song of fishes (le chant des poissons).

Fast acoustic tweezers

Strong acoustic waves can exert forces. Here we show how shape ultrasound waves in order to manipulate objects, without any contact, at any desired position. See article in Appl. Phys. Letters.

The walk and jump of horsetail spores
(Equisetum, or
preles in French):
a small movie showing the spectacular effects of humidity changes on horsetail spores. See also the article.

The origin of sounds from trees:
We could show that the ultrasonic noises by the wood of trees is due to cavitation bubbles. See also the article.

Revealing the catastrophic failure of leaf networks
During a period of drought, bubbles may appear in the water network of plants! In this video we describe a simple way to reveal the development of these bubbles in a leaf. See also the article in PNAS.

Soap Film Opera: visualizing music with a soap film
Our colleague F. Elias designed nice experiments on the effect  of sound on soap films. Here is a clip we have edited on the experiment.

Swimming with an elastic sphere
A sphere suddenly collapses when the pressure inside is decreased, a phenomenon called buckling. By repeating collapses and re-inflation under water a sphere can propel itself, even in very viscous fluids.

Physics in a cup of tea
[Film en français !] Ce film documentaire présente des phénomènes intrigants lorsque l'on trempe une tartine beurrée dans sa tasse de thé, et comment cela mène à une investigation de recherche en Physique. Voir aussi la vidéo réalisée par Zeste de Science sur le sujet

par le dessinateur Tim