Lion's teeth on the nanoscale

Xiao-Fang Shen and Xiu-Ping Yan of Nankai University have created a floral display with a difference. They created bundles of cysteine-lead nanowires that are then spread to form a bouquet of highly oriented nano "dandelions". The approach is an inexpensive way to make nanomaterials with potentially a wide range of applications. Moreover, they can be produced on a large scale, at room temperature, and under atmospheric pressure. "Our new process enables the simple, controlled synthesis of nanowires and three-dimensional lead sulfide microstructures," explains Yan, "In addition, we expect to gain new insights into the fundamental processes involved in mineralization, the transformation of bioorganic nano- and microstructures into inorganic structures. This process also occurs in living organisms, in which it plays an important role."