Results are far from guaranteed in nanotechnology research. Trying to create and manipulate materials on such a tiny scale – these puffs are less than 1/40th the width of a single human hair -- is cutting-edge science, and unexpected things happen all the time.
In this experiment Chen and Crosby were attempting to create nanoparticle cubes. Manipulating this material, strontium titanate, could help pave the way for faster smart phones and other electronic devices.
Instead of cubes, however, Chen and Crosby’s recipe yielded these flower-like clusters. “Nanoparticle synthesis can sometimes seem like black magic” explains Chen, but the team isn’t deterred. “We learn from these accidents” she adds, “eight out of ten times it doesn’t work, but we have to persevere to learn.”
Department of Materials Science & Engineering
Tools & Techniques: Transmission Electron Microscope + colored in WSxM