This valentine, made out of palladium atoms, is eight nanometers across. It formed spontaneously this week while researchers Zhiwei Wang and David Pearmain of the University of Birmingham’s Nanoscale Physics Research Laboratory were working:
Although the palladium Valentine was a nice surprise for the scientists, they actually have other reasons for studying the palladium atoms. Professor Richard Palmer, head of the Laboratory explained:
"Size-selected atomic clusters, of the kind which fused together to assemble the atomic heart, are of practical relevance as model catalysts; the palladium/carbon system is employed as a real industrial catalyst in the fine chemicals sector. Precise control of the atomic architecture of the clusters may lead to enhanced yield and especially selectivity in complex catalytic reactions, as well as reducing the number of metal atoms needed to catalyze the reaction."
Link via Gizmodo | Image: Nanoscale Physics Research Laboratory