Monday, April 16, 2007

Picture of the day


John Hart, Disorder

This is an image of carbon nanotube (CNT) structures grown by chemical vapor deposition on a silicon substrate, by John Hart, a post-doctoral associate at MIT. At first, a uniform film of CNTs - like grass growing from a field of seeds - sprouted upward from a substrate. Later, some of the CNTs arranged into groups, which grew more rapidly than their neighbors. These groups of CNTs were then constrained by a second substrate, a "cap" which is spaced above the growth substrate. The groups bent and changed direction when they ran into the cap, to give the disordered structures shown in the image. The worm-like structures in "disorder" are approximately 50 micrometers in diameter, which is just less than the width of a typical human hair.

The image was taken using a scanning electron microscope.

Many such images, which are displayed at, resemble everyday objects and macroscopic landscapes; however, these structures are formed by self-assembly interactions at much smaller scales.

So far, most of these images have arisen as results of normal experiments, but in some cases John took a bit more time to image the sample in the microscope, or to refine or add color to the image afterwards. John says he's still very much a scientist, but is seeing now how artistic endeavors can enhance the presentation and visualization of science, and how laboratory techniques such as fabrication and self-assembly can be a new art form.

Courtesy of and Copyright © Anastasios John Hart. Permission to reprint required.

To learn more, visit John's website and his research page

Look for the series at the Nanotechnology Now Gallery soon.

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