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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Video: How to Turn a Crystal Into a Ribbon
6 February 2014 2:00 pm
If you want to understand how crystals begin to form on a flat surface, just think about adding oranges to a cardboard box: each packed side by side with its neighbors. Change the speed of when individual crystal components join and you can get unusual shapes, such as snowflakes. But try to grow a crystal on a curved surface, and this regular arrangement breaks apart. Now, researchers have managed to track this effect in exquisite detail. They suspended tiny polystyrene particles in spherical droplets of water and watched through a microscope as the particles moved about (see video). The particles’ chemical makeup initially attracts them to the inside edge of the droplets where the water meets the surrounding air, then to their neighbors. As successive particles pack together, crystallites begin to coat the inside of the droplet. But the droplet’s curvature increases a property known as the elastic tension, forcing the crystallites to grow into ribbonlike structures that mesh together in patches as more continue to assemble on the inner surface of the droplets. By understanding this process, reported online today in Science, researchers say they hope to better determine how curved nanoscale objects, such as viruses, put themselves together.