Image

Scientific Image -Glass Nanowire

In this optical microscope image, light can be seen passing though a silica nanowire on a silica aerogel surface.

New technologies have made it possible to draw glass in long, ultra-smooth wires with uniform diameters in the nanometer range. Because of their extraordinary uniformity, these nanowires have unique properties important in optics and photonics, both of which require precise control of light.

• SIZE: This nanowire is 530 nm long and the radius of the bent wire is 8 µm.

• IMAGING TOOL: Optical Microscope

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.

Scientific Image - Silicon Nanomembrane

Air bubbles trapped beneath a silicon crystal film are shown in this optical microscope image. Light passing through the bubbles creates the circular patterns and colors.

Extremely thin films like these have important electrical properties and therefore find numerous applications in ultra-fast computer chips and high-yield solar cells. This image shows an intermediate stage of their production; trapped air bubbles are removed in later processing.

• SIZE: The sample imaged is 27 nm thick and a few cm wide.

• IMAGING TOOL: Optical Microscope

Scientific Image - Liquid Crystal

This is an optical microscope image of a liquid crystal (Cromlyn in water). The colors are created by molecular variations or changes in the crystal's thickness.

Liquid crystals have properties of both liquids and solids: Although they can flow like a fluid, their molecules are highly ordered, like those found in solid crystals. The ubiquitous liquid crystal displays (LCDs) found in everything from watches to cell phones are made possible by devices that rapidly alter the structure of these substances—and therefore the way they interact with light.

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 size of each leaf is about 6-10 cm.

Scientific Image - Nickel Nanowires

The orientation of the nickel nanowires shown in this scanning electron microscope can be changed by altering the direction of an applied magnetic field.

Nanowires are a key focus of nanotechnology research due to their potential uses in nanoscale electronic, magnetic, optical, and mechanical devices. Nickel nanowires in particular may play an important role in increasing the memory capacity of computer hard disc drives.

• SIZE: The nanowires are 100-200 nm in diameter and about 20 µm in length.

• IMAGING TOOL: Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

Scientific Image - Quantum Corral (side 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.

Scientific Image - Glass Nanowire

This is a scanning electron microscope image of a silica nanowire on a silica aerogel surface. New technologies have made it possible to draw glass in long, ultra-smooth wires with uniform diameters in the nanometer range. Because of their extraordinary uniformity, these nanowires have unique properties important in optics and photonics, both of which require precise control of light.

• SIZE: The nanowire is 530 nm long and the radius of the bent wire is 8 µm.

• IMAGING TOOL: Scanning Electron Microscope

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