NanoArt: Truly Extra-Ordinary

Art at the scale of 1/1,000,000,000 (1 billionth) of a meter, where materials can act and look very differently than they do in the macroscopic world that we see around us.

nanoflower 2.jpg
by Rami R M Louca – ‘Flower’ is a scanning electron microscope image of titanium dioxide nanowires. Titanium dioxide is used as a pigment and as a light-absorbing component in sunscreens. Titanium dioxide nanomaterials are also of interest for their use in solar cells and as photocatalysts (light absorbed by the photocatalyst can help drive chemical reactions). Titanium dioxide nano-coatings have also been investigated for creation of self-cleaning glass. Acknowledgements: Prof. M Welland, Dr. James Bendall, Dr. Natalie Plank, Engineering at Cambridge,

nano art pillar.jpg
A beautiful balancing act: a silicon nanostructure, formed by a process of deep reactive ion etching. Etching is a common practice in micro- and nano-fabrication, in which layers of a material such as silicon are controllably removed via chemical reaction with a solution etchant such as an acid or strong base. Silicon is currently the primary component of semiconductor devices, including computer microchips. “On the etched Si pillars, some nanodot agglomerates perfectly balancing on this nanostage.” – By Engineering at Cambridge,

by Aruna Ivaturi – The ‘Nano-Grass Field’ is an scanning electron microscope image of zinc oxide semiconductor nanorods (an average of 60 nanometers around and 1µm high). Such a field of nanorod ‘grass’ can harness light from the sun via the special light-harnessing properties of the nanoscale semiconductors themselves and incorporated light-capturing dyes. This nanotechnology is allowing the fabrication of more effective, eco-friendly solar panels. “Just like the natural grass fields convert solar energy into chemical energy via photosynthesis, these ‘nano-grass’ fields convert solar energy into electricity via what is sometimes called ‘artificial photosynthesis’ in the dye-sensitized solar cells.” – By Engineering at Cambridge,

nano dandelions.jpg
by Aruna Ivaturi – ‘Nanorod Dandelions’ is a scanning electron microscope image of tin oxide nanorods (each rod is average of 50 nanometers around and 1µm long). Such structures are ‘promising candidates’ for energy storing rechargeable batteries and energy-harvesting solar panels. Not to mention, the structures are strikingly beautiful! I always loved making wishes on dandelions… – Image through_Engineering at Cambridge_,

Holding the earth in the palm of His… Micro-gribber. This structure isn’t quite small enough in its entirety to classify as ‘nano’, but it isn’t any less extra-ordinary. This scanning electron microscope image shows a ‘micro-gripper’ as created by Dr Jack Luo and Dr Yong Qing Fu, holding a mini-earth measuring less than 100um (1um = 1/1,000,000) across. – Image through_Engineering at Cambridge_,
Powell, D. (2011). Matter & energy: News briefs: Handcrafted nanoart Science News, 179 (7), 10-10 DOI: 10.1002/scin.5591790710