In this film "Zoom into a Lotus Leaf," see an up close look at the tiny nanostructures that give the leaf its unique behavior. The Lotus Leaf is a symbol of purity because it appears to be perpetually clean. We now know that its self-cleaning properties are due to its ability to repel water very effectively; it's superhydrophobic. It gets its superhydrophobicity from tiny nanostructures. We start with a normal digital camera and zoom in using increasingly powerful microscopes as we explore this phenomena.
Visitors will engage in a variety of survey type questions focusing on different aspects of nanotechnology. For each question posed, they will be provided short descriptions about the possible options. They will then place their vote using a marble in the container labeled with their selection. Throughout the day the public will be able to visualize how others have answered the same question by looking at the quantity of marbles in each container. Museum staff can use the data to chart trends in public knowledge about nanotechnology.
Visitors will engage in activities showing various natural phenomena that scientists and engineers have emulated to address human problems. Visitors view peacock feathers at different angles to see iridescence, apply drops of water to observe the color changes, and look at other examples of iridescence in nature, such as a blue Morpho butterfly, tropical beetle wings, and abalone shells. Visitors also explore the Lotus Effect by applying drops of water onto Lotusan paint and stain resistant fabrics, two technologies that mimic the Lotus effect.
Sights Unseen features 14 beautiful images generated in the course of research by UW-Madison biologists, engineers and physical scientists. The exhibit seeks to expose the often-underappreciated creative and visual nature of the scientific enterprise. Images from the exhibit are available through UW MRSEC.
Many natural materials have nanostructures that affect their properties. Experiment with milk and gelatin to study properties that are a result of their nanostructures.