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Rough Waters | by Argonne National Laboratory
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Rough Waters

By Seth Darling (Center for Nanoscale Materials, Argonne National Laboratory) and Steven Sibener (University of Chicago)


This attractive blue landscape is a slice of life at the nanoscale – the entire field of the image is just a hundredth the width of a human hair. The pattern is created by two different materials that have been laid over a gold surface. The rippled nature of this material allows scientists to adjust and control its properties, such as how it interacts with water—opening up new possibilities in self-cleaning materials, biocompatible implants, and beyond.


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An atomic force micrograph of a self-assembled monolayer of molecules composed of two different materials on a gold surface. These mixed monolayers enable one to tailor the interface chemistry of the surface and thereby tune properties such as wettability or biocompatibility.


Physics Today, 62 (2009) 88


Photo courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory.

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Taken on November 5, 2008