Polymer Flower

Image: Russell Taylor, Briana Whitaker and Briana Carstens /
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Beautiful flowers? Not quite - they're polymer pillars serendipitously photographed by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:

The groovy flower pattern in this image actually came about by accident. Briana Whitaker and Briana Carstens of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, snapped this photograph as a quality-control step in their experiments to study the forces that cells, such as those that stitch together skin wounds, exert. They visualize these forces by watching how forests of 10-micrometer-tall polymer pillars bend when they place the cells on top of them. Ideally, the pillars should stand straight up, but on this occasion, as in the image, most of the pillars have fallen over, revealing a flower pattern.


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