April showers bring May flowers. But in this case, the blossoms are too small for even a bumblebee to see.
Engineers at Harvard University have figured out a way to make microscopic sculptures of roses, tulips and violets, each smaller than a strand of hair.
To get a sense of just how small these flower sculptures are, grab a penny and flip it on its back. Right in the middle of the Lincoln Memorial, you’ll see a faint impression of Abraham Lincoln. These roses would make a perfect corsage for the president’s jacket lapel.
Growing the gardens is similar to making crystals with a Magic Rockkit.
The flowers sprout up spontaneously when a glass plate is dipped into a beaker filled with silicon and minerals (specifically, barium chloride). Then Wim Noorduin at Harvard coaxes the salts to spiral and swirl into smooth, curvaceous shapes, like vases, leaves and petals.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Wim Noorduin/Harvard University