HONORABLE MENTION - Matt O'Brien: From Salt, Flowers Grew

Salt crystals like these grow from colorless, empty-looking solutions. Inside each solution chemicals are dissolved in water. When the water evaporates these striking chemical patterns are left behind.

Depending on the type of salt and the way the liquid evaporates, beautiful crystals like these flowery patterns can form. The shape of each flower gives valuable information about the internal structure of the crystals and how they formed.

In this experiment researchers wanted to observe how nanoparticles assemble into microscopic crystals. These crystals are built from molecules which researchers use to make and assemble nanoparticles. The better we understand nano-scale building blocks and how they work, the more effectively we can use them to design new materials, make smaller devices, and more specifically target diseases.

Department of Materials Science & Engineering 

Tools & Techniques: Scanning Electron Microscope + colored in Photoshop

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