Science has created tiny artificial flowers which 'bloom' in three hours

A digitally-coloured microflower magnified 20,000 times. Image: RMIT

Australian researchers have developed artificial microflowers which self-assemble in water and mimic the natural blooming process.

But the achievement is more about advances in electronics than creating art and beauty.

The distinctive surfaces of the flower-like structures have potential for applications in a range of fields, including nanotechnology, biotechnology, biomedicine and organic electronics.

A team from the RMIT-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology Research Centre developed the microstructures which build through a self-repeating arrangement in water.

Here they are growing:

The microflowers at different stages of formation (magnified 25,000 times). Image: RMIT

Sheshanath Boshanale, the lead investigator, says the field of organic flower-shaped morphology is still in its infancy.

“This is the first time flower-shaped microforms have been developed in a water solution, opening an exciting new pathway for further research,” he says.

The artificial blooms are just 10 microns wide. About 10 could fit along the width of a strand of human hair.

The microflowers take about three hours to fully develop, mimicking the way natural flowers bloom.

The research is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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