Michael Oliveri is digital artist who has collaborated with materials scientist Zhengwei Pan to create marvelous nanoscapes; images taken by a scanning electron microscope of structures that are microns or nanometers in length.
The balls in this picture are germanium and the wires are zinc oxide. They were fabricated inside a tube furnace system at temperature of 900-1000 Celsius degree. The source materials for this synthesis are zinc oxide powder, germanium powder and graphite powder. At the reaction temperature, zinc oxide and germanium oxide powders were reduced by graphite through a reduction reaction, providing zinc and germanium sources for zinc oxide nanowires and germanium balls growth, respectively. In this growth, the germanium balls act as the catalyst which direct the zinc oxide nanowires growth to finally sitting on the top of the nanowires. The diameter of the germanium balls is in the range of 1 to 5 micrometers and the diameter of the zinc oxide nanowires is in the range of 100 to 200 nanometers.
A human hair is about 50-100 microns wide. That means those wires in the picture are more than 250 times smaller than a strand of hair. Eeep.
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I’m just sayin’…