What happens if you take 1680 titanium atoms and 180 platinum atoms, then add a Christmas-spirited team of scientists? A nanoscale catalyst to help split water into hydrogen, with more than a passing resemblance to a snowman, is what. This piece of festive art may look like a child's drawing, but it was in fact created by the Nanoscale Physics Research Lab in Birmingham, UK. It's made up of platinum clusters embedded into a titanium dioxide face, and each one measures just 5 nanometres across. In theory, it can be used to speed up the reaction where water is split into its constituent elements — the process through which hydrogen is made for fuel cells. The (sadly) false-colour image was captured using an aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope.
Image by Nanoscale Physics Research Lab