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Radically Inept
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
  Nano-flowers?

I saw this in an article somewhere else, but it had only one photo. This site, Astrobiology Magazine :: Search for Life in the Universe, which looks very interesting in its own right, has this article, with several photos included, Science and Art in Nanoworld :
"To showcase imaginative examples, new images were taken by Ghim Wei Ho, a PhD student studying nanotechnology at Cambridge University. She has named some of her best photographs nanobouquet, nanotrees, and nanoflower because of their curious similarity to familiar organic structures such as flower-heads and tiny growing trees.

Ghim Wei's work involves making new types of materials based on nanotechnology and these flowers are an example of such a new material. Here, nanometer scale wires (about one thousandth the diameter of a human hair) of a silicon-carbon material (silicon carbide) are grown from tiny droplets of a liquid metal (Gallium) on a silicon surface, like the chips inside home computers.

The wires grow as a gas containing methane flows over the surface. The gas reacts at the surface of the droplets and condenses to form the wires. By changing the temperature and pressure of the growth process the wires can be controllably fused together in a natural process to form a range of new structures including these flower-like materials."
Though really, it should be no surprise that at the nano level things look so organic. Biology has operated at the Nano-level from the beginning, and then add to that Complexity and Chaos theory, well, you'd sort have to expect a sort of repetition as scales change.

Anyway, here's a cool little collection of links on related subjects Complexity, Self Adaptive Complex Systems, and Chaos Theory, and it quotes one of my favorite popular science writers:
"'Where chaos begins, classical science stops. For as long as the world has had physicists inquiring into the laws of nature, it has suffered a special ignorance about disorder in the atmosphere, in the fluctuations of the wildlife populations, in the oscillations of the heart and the brain. The irregular side of nature, the discontinuous and erratic side -- these have been puzzles to science, or worse, monstrosities.'

-- James Gleick in Chaos-Making a New Science"
Fun stuff. 
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