Stunning Spring Flowers Self-Assemble in a Beaker as Crystals

May 17, 2013 3:50 PM

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It's definitely spring. Leaves are unfurling, birds are singing and chemists have created self-assembling flowers in a beaker. These micron-scaled, delicate structures are made of crystals, and show how scientists can manipulate chemical gradients in order to reveal what's possible in the environment.

The miniscule sculptures are curved and delicate--a sharp contrast to the cubic or jagged forms that crystals usually take. These formations seem to bloom from the surface of a submerged glass slide, assembling themselves one molecule at a time in order to create fields of carnations and marigolds.

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