Nanomaterials Revealed

Thanks to the smart nano detectives out there who took a stab at solving yesterday’s picture puzzle.

i-a9b51fa12063313aa1e53b996aa05f50-magneticvortex-thumb-300x249-53074.jpgMystery image #1, aka the “Nano Vortex,” shows the different magnetization directions of an arrangement of nickel and nickel oxide. Captured by Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN) scientist Yimei Zhu, this photo reveals the local distribution of electromagnetic potential. The ability to directly observe electromagnetic properties at the nanoscale may help scientists engineer new materials that rely on magnetic spin – rather than just electric charge – to control electric current. Such “spintronic” materials could be used for a range of smaller, faster electronic devices for applications including data storage and energy conversion.

i-c64391bd9418858dd490bdbfe6c3ca5a-nanobelt-thumb-300x278-53077.jpgMystery image # 2 is named “Nano Leaves” by its photographer, CFN scientist Weiqiang Han. But these “leaves,” which are actually called nanobelts, make your average household plant look like a sequoia. Made of gallium nitride and zinc oxide, these structures are just 5 microns long and 10 nanometers thick. There’s a reason for their plant-like appearance, though. The flat shape of nanobelts, which might be used as a water-splitting catalyst to produce hydrogen for fuel cells, enhances their ability to absorb light, facilitating this photocatalytic reaction.

And the winner is…no one. Although, Adam_Y was sooooo close. It’s close enough for me, really, so I’m going to go ahead and hand over all 10 of those BNL Nerd Points to him. Congrats and thanks for playing!