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 London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.