Scanning electron microscopes often takes us in unexplored and wild landscapes, natural or not. This one is not, in fact, natural, and it’s not a flower either. These are titanium dioxide nanowires. By “nano” it means that they are measured in the nanoworld of nanometers, the billionth of a meter, way beyond what our eyes can perceive. As in the famous question “if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it makes a sound ?”, if something is so small as so to be invisible to the eye, is it even there ? With a scanning electron microscope, an electron beam, condenser lenses, deflectors plates, you can show that it is. There. In all its magnified glory.
Photo credits : Prof. M Welland, Dr. James Bendall, Dr. Natalie Plank (Engineering at Cambridge)