Click to enlarge
Imagine an entire field of the above flowers on a penny. More accurately, along the base of the Lincoln Memorial on the back of a penny. That’s what Harvard research scientist Wim Noorduin was able to do by manipulating conditions such as pH, temperature, and carbon dioxide starting with a solution of salt and silicon. Noorduin was able to control the structure down to the tiniest petal on these flowers which measure approximately 50 micrometers and are invisible to the naked eye. It’s pretty amazing when you take it all in. And, of course, flowers are just one of infinite possible assembled architectures once such detailed control is achieved.