Microscopic sculptures of flowers Photo by: Wim Noorduin/Harvard University

Nano Garden

by Noelle Knell / December 10, 2013

Part engineer, part sculptor, Wim Noorduin at Harvard University creates microscopic gardens of tulips, roses and violets, in which each bloom is smaller than a strand of human hair.

The tiny flowers form when a glass plate is partially submerged in a beaker containing silicon and minerals, including barium chloride. Noorduin manipulates the environment of the salts by changing the temperature and injecting gases like carbon dioxide in order to create the flowers. According to a report on NPR, simply walking past the beaker will change the growth patterns.

Noorduin likened the process to 3-D printing, on a much smaller scale. Future uses could include microelectronics, medical sensors and optical materials.

Photo credit: Wim Noorduin/Harvard University