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Scientific Image - Nasturtium Leaf

The Lotus Effect describes water droplets rolling off leaf surfaces, removing dirt and contaminants in the process. This phenomenon can also be seen in the more common nasturtium. Scanning electron microscope images show that nasturtium leaves are covered by waxy nanocrystal bundles. The uneven surface created by these tiny structures traps air between water and leaf, causing the water to roll off. Research on such nanoscale effects has inspired revolutionary new materials, including water- and stain-resistant fabrics.

• SIZE: The veins form sections on the leaf. The average size...

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Scientific Image - Multiwalled Carbon Nanotube Yarn

Nanoscale fibers drawn from multiwalled carbon nanotubes have strengths comparable to spider silk. Replacing metal wires in electronic textiles with these super-strong yarns could lead to important new functionalities, such as the ability to actuate (as an artificial muscle) and to store energy (as a fiber super-capacitor or battery).

• SIZE: The yarn's diameter is about 1 µm. The nanotubes from which it is being drawn are each about 10 nm in diameter.

• IMAGING TOOL: Scanning electron microscope

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Scientific Image - Gecko Foot

The gecko's amazing ability to cling to vertical or inverted surfaces is due to the interaction between nanoscale structures on its feet and tiny crevices on the wall or ceiling. The soles of gecko feet are made up of overlapping adhesive lamellae covered with millions of superfine hairs, or setae, each of which branches out at the end into hundreds of spatula-shaped structures. These flexible pads—each measuring only a few nanometers across—curve to fit inside unseen cracks and divots on the surface. The combined adhesion of these millions of pads holds the gecko in place. This striking...

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Scientific Image - Gecko Foot

The gecko's amazing ability to cling to vertical or inverted surfaces is due to the interaction between nanoscale structures on its feet and tiny crevices on the wall or ceiling. The soles of gecko feet are made up of overlapping adhesive lamellae covered with millions of superfine hairs, or setae, each of which branches out at the end into hundreds of spatula-shaped structures. These flexible pads—each measuring only a few nanometers across—curve to fit inside unseen cracks and divots on the surface. The combined adhesion of these millions of pads holds the gecko in place. This striking...

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Scientific Image - Gecko Toe

The gecko's amazing ability to cling to vertical or inverted surfaces is due to the interaction between nanoscale structures on its feet and tiny crevices on the wall or ceiling. The soles of gecko feet are made up of overlapping adhesive lamellae covered with millions of superfine hairs, or setae, each of which branches out at the end into hundreds of spatula-shaped structures. These flexible pads—each measuring only a few nanometers across—curve to fit inside unseen cracks and divots on the surface. The combined adhesion of these millions of pads holds the gecko in place. This striking...

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Scientific Image - Quantum Corral (top view)

The corral is an artificial structure created from 48 iron atoms (the sharp peaks) on a copper surface. The wave patterns in this scanning tunneling microscope image are formed by copper electrons confined by the iron atoms.

Don Eigler and colleagues created this structure in 1993 by using the tip of a low-temperature scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to position iron atoms on a copper surface, creating an electron-trapping barrier. This was the first successful attempt at manipulating individual atoms and led to the development of new techniques for nanoscale construction....

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Scientific Image- Blue Morpho Butterfly Wing Ridges

This scanning electron microscope image shows ridges on a Blue Morpho Butterfly wing scale. These ridges contain nanoscale structures that reflect light to create the Morpho's iridescent colors.

The Blue Morpho is common in Central and South America and known for its bright blue wings. However, these iridescent colors are created not by pigments in the wing tissues but instead by the way light interacts with nanometer-sized structures on the Morpho's wing scales. This effect is being studied as a model in the development of new fabrics, dye-free paints, and anti-counterfeit...

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Scientific Image - Blue Morpho Butterfly Wing Scales

The overlapping scales on the wing of the Blue Morpho Butterfly contain nanoscale structures that reflect light to create iridescent colors. This scanning electron microscope image shows Morpho wing scales from above.

The Blue Morpho is common in Central and South America and known for its bright blue wings. However, these iridescent colors are created not by pigments in the wing tissues but instead by the way light interacts with nanometer-sized structures on the Morpho's wing scales. This effect is being studied as a model in the development of new fabrics, dye-free paints, and...

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Scientific Image - Blue Morpho Butterfly

The iridescent colors of the Blue Morpho Butterfly's wings are produced by nanostructures that reflect different wavelengths of light.

The Blue Morpho is common in Central and South America and known for its bright blue wings. However, these iridescent colors are created not by pigments in the wing tissues but instead by the way light interacts with nanometer-sized structures on the Morpho's wing scales. This effect is being studied as a model in the development of new fabrics, dye-free paints, and anti-counterfeit technologies for currency.

•SIZE: The wing span of a Blue...

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Scientific Image - Photonic Crystal

This is a scanning electron microscope image of a photonic crystal. The periodic arrangement of the holes in the material controls the movement of light within the crystal.

A photonic crystal's highly ordered and repetitive structure affects the way light moves through it. Similar periodic arrangements are found in nature—for example, in precious opals and in the wings of the Blue Morpho butterfly—and scientists are studying these natural periodic structures to learn more about their properties and potential applications. These crystals have potential uses in computer engineering,...

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