Sunflowers? Nope. Actually, they're silicon oxide nanowires grown in gallium and gold catalysts — and they're only several microns in length. The photo, by Chinese University of Hong Kong professor S.K. Hark, is part of the Materials Research Society's semi-annual celebration of the most artistic and eye catching images found during the study of nanomaterials. Some choice picks after the jump.


Zinc oxide nanoneedles, colorized to resemble a traditional Chinese mountain painting.


Potassium niobium oxide deposited onto a silicon surface and photographed through an optical microscope.

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Check out Wired for the rest of the pictures. [Wired]