Life-like materials

Takayoshi Sasaki of the International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics in Ibaraki, Japan, and colleagues have found that an inorganic layered crystal can expand and contract to hundred times its original size in a few seconds in water, acting in a manner similar to a living cell. Swelling in such materials is usually around 10% of the original size. Sasaki's team has worked with lamellar metal oxides with 3000 plate crystals in stacks and their findings will help researchers working with this and two-dimensional materials such as graphene in which delamination is an important characteristic of the preparation of such materials.