“Bendy” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of crystals. Brittle and inelastic, more like it. But Queensland researchers have created single crystals flexible enough to be bent – repeatedly – and even tied in a knot.
Taking inspiration from the microscopic rounded structures that creatures like starfish naturally grow to improve their limited vision, researchers at the University of Michigan have succeeded in artificially creating smooth facet-less crystals in the lab that have the potential to revolutionise everything from solar panels to LEDs.
Man-made life is a thing of fiction, relegated to things like Frankenstein. But scientists are coming close to something almost like it. New light-affected crystals developed by scientists at New York University are very close to being alive, so close it makes you question what “being alive” really means.