Microscopic Flowers Blooming in Harvard’s Lab

May 30, 2013 11:09am

While studying diverse and complex structures found in nature, such as coral reefs, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences post-doctoral fellow Wim L. Noorduin and his colleagues produced some remarkable images from a barium carbonate (salt) solution and an electron microscope.

By dissolving two chemicals in water and manipulating the growing compound’s environment, the structures produced start to resemble flowers; ranging from roses to petunias to tulips.

“Just by taking the lid off of the beaker, adding a drop of acid, or mixing in some kitchen salt, can already give completely different shapes,” says Noorduin. While the work is mainly a fundamental study on how minerals assemble themselves, the structures themselves would look good at any place setting.

 

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Cactus Flower, Wim Noorduin

 

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Rose, Wim Noorduin

 

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Iris – Wim Noorduin

 

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Rose Bud – Wim Noorduin

 

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Pansies – Laura Hendriks/Wim Noorduin

 

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Tulips – Wim Noorduin

 

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Petunia – Wim Noorduin

 

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Lilies – Wim Noorduin

 

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Moon Flowers – Laura Hendriks/Wim Noorduin

 

 

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