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This spiky cluster of SrCuSi4O10 crystals resembles a late-summer blossom or a close-up of a viral particle. To make the crystals, Darrah Johnson-McDaniel at the University of Georgia heated sources of copper and strontium with a silicate precursor in water. Eric Formo, laboratory manager at the Georgia Electron Microscopy facility, imaged the crystals. Formo says Johnson-McDaniel, could have made different structures by altering the temperature and pressure. Johnson-McDaniel’s group uses this hydrothermal method to tune the crystals’ size and shape to match them with applications such as fingerprint-dusting powders, bioceramics, and roofing materials.
Submitted by Eric Formo
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CORRECTION: This story was updated on Feb. 15, 2019, to clarify that Darrah Johnson-McDaniel created the sample and Eric Formo imaged it.
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