The Blossoms of Shujun
Imagine a layered cake, a parfait, or any layered dessert. A similar type of layering occurs in thin films of block copolymers, only the layers are tens of nanometers thick (a hundred thousand times thinner than a sheet of paper)! If we place a liquid on the surface that attracts one of the layers beneath, then the layers within the film will rearrange themselves in an attempt to allow the attracted layer to reach the liquid. The floral arrangement, shown here, is actually an electron microscope image that captured such a rearrangement, only it has been magnified twenty thousand times.
Image credit: VISUAL, Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst