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That's the case at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where researchers have found a way to shape microscopic crystals into complex and often beautiful structures.
Inspired by coral reefs, seashells and other naturally occurring complex mineral structures, postdoctoral fellow Wim L. Noorduin and Harvard colleagues have been researching ways to manually recreate similar designs.
These "flowers" were created by mixing barium chloride and sodium silicate, also known as waterglass, in a beaker of water. The resulting reaction also combines with carbon dioxide in the air to create crystals made of barium carbonate in the water.
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