Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 12th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Perfectly Formed

Controlling organisation of nanoplatelets to construct new biotech applicable materials

24 December 2022

Perfectly Formed

Just as a detailed picture is made of many pixels, increasingly detailed 3D designs become possible with tiny building blocks. Nanoparticles have the potential to bend light, conduct electricity, or be shaped into tiny machines – but how to steer them into a design? Here nanotechnologists use mathematical models to predict how thousands of nanoplatelets – disc shaped nanoparticles 10 million times smaller than Smarties – behave when grouped into spherical supraparticles. Each row shows two similar particles from the outside (first and third images) or sliced open (second and fourth). Colours link similarly-aligned particles – as we look down the rows, and the nanoplatelets become more rounded, the particles point in a greater variety of colourful directions. Something else emerges – the most rounded particles (bottom) flick outwards, lining the surface of their supraparticle. In real life, this quirk may help in designing drug carrying particles for use in research and medicine.

Written by John Ankers

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

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.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.