Microscopic crystalline flowers, grown to order

Credit: Wim Noorduin/Harvard University

Crystals usually don't come to mind when you think of spring. Crystals are cold, rigid structures that look a lot more like icebergs than anything organic, but not anymore.

By altering chemical gradients in a beaker of fluid, Harvard postdoctoral fellow Wim L. Noorduin discovered that he was able to control how crystals form and grow. And what has he chosen to do with this new power? Why, grow a tiny little garden of flowers, of course.

The crystalline "flowers" actually prove Noorduin's results quite eloquently. He's created multiple breeds — make that shapes — of flowers and then repeated them using his technique.

To be fair, the images you see below are a little doctored. The microscopic crystal flowers don't actually grow in such a rainbow of springtime colors. Those were mocked up to prove Noorduin's ability to grow crystals in the shapes he desires; something they highlight quite charmingly, really.

Via Boston.com

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