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These bouquets, petals, and trees are actually tiny bundles of wires that have been created in the laboratory. Each flower is several microns long, which is several billionths of a meter.

The wires are made of a material called silicon carbide, and researchers hope to use these wires to develop the next generation of electronic devices.

Scientists “grew” the flowers by putting droplets of liquid metal on a silicon chip. By changing the temperature and pressure in the experiment, they can weave the wires into three-dimensional shapes such as flowers.

The flowers were made and photographed by Ghim Wei Ho, a graduate student at the Nanoscale Center at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

All images are copyright Ghim Wei Ho.

— Kate Ruder

Ho, GW et al. Three-dimensional crystalline SiC nanowire flowers. Nanotechnology 15, 996-999 (June 18, 2004).

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