How to Grow Nanoflowers

The uncanny similarity between metallic nanoflowers and the real things suggests similar growth laws, say physicists

kfc 09/01/2011

One way to grow nanowires is to start by spreading a thin layer of plastic on a conducting substrate, such as copper. The plastic must have vertical pores in its structure stretching from the copper substrate to the surface. (It’s possible to make these pores by bombarding the plastic with high energy particles that rip holes through the layer.)

Next, place the substrate and plastic layer in an electroplating solution pass a current through it. The electroplating metal will be deposited in the pores, creating nanowires.

When the wires have grown to the surface of the plastic layer, switch off the current. Finally, dissolve the plastic leaving the metal nanowires.

What happens if you let the wires grow beyond the plastic surface? The answer is that they form nanoflowers, say Galina Strukova and buddies at the Institute of Solid State Physics in Chernogolovka, Russia.

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