Microscopic Crystal Flowers: Thanks, Harvard!

May 21, 2013 | Julia Dawidowicz

These microscopic crystal flowers were grown by Harvard  researcher Wim L. Noorduin by dissolving barium chloride and sodium silicate into water. When the carbon dioxide diffuses the solution, intricate patterns form in the barium crystal. The resulting nanoscale blossoms seem to have been picked right out of a fairy’s garden.

Varying levels of acidity drastically impact the shapes of the “flowers” you see here, which were photographed using an electron microscope.