New approach for controlling nanostructures – potential for biomedical applications
Looking like a slice of pepperoni pizza, it’s not the toppings here, but what’s underneath this 20,000-times smaller triangular nanosheet of silver that counts. Pictured from above under a high-powered microscope, the glittering triangles are pulled towards the surface beneath by Van der Waals forces, the same molecular 'glue' which keeps a gecko’s foot stuck to a tree. But there are deliberate obstacles in the way – tiny nanospheres of iron oxide underneath cause the silver to bend and deform, producing circular bumps. Creating regular, predictable patterns is a dream of material scientists wanting to alter the properties of natural metals – this new technique might help create devices to refract light during biomedical imaging, or as ready-made catalysts, their tiny divots ideal places for drug compounds to react.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
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