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Organisms in nature can assemble themselves into highly functioning structures. Understanding the unique architectural principles that prompt this self-organization offers important clues into economical ways of solving complex material and design challenges.
The polymer nanobristles in this image were covered in liquid. As the liquid evaporated, the process was controlled so that polymer bristles formed highly ordered helical clusters in which the bristle hairs wound around each other like embracing arms or gently entwined fingers.
This image was taken with a scanning electron microscope and colored to enhance detail.
Image credit: Joanna Aizenberg.