Scientific Image - Gecko Toe

The gecko's amazing ability to cling to vertical or inverted surfaces is due to the interaction between nanoscale structures on its feet and tiny crevices on the wall or ceiling. The soles of gecko feet are made up of overlapping adhesive lamellae covered with millions of superfine hairs, or setae, each of which branches out at the end into hundreds of spatula-shaped structures. These flexible pads—each measuring only a few nanometers across—curve to fit inside unseen cracks and divots on the surface. The combined adhesion of these millions of pads holds the gecko in place.

Scientific Image - Nickel Nanowires

The orientation of the nickel nanowires shown in this scanning electron microscope can be changed by altering the direction of an applied magnetic field.

Nanowires are a key focus of nanotechnology research due to their potential uses in nanoscale electronic, magnetic, optical, and mechanical devices. Nickel nanowires in particular may play an important role in increasing the memory capacity of computer hard disc drives.

• SIZE: The nanowires are 100-200 nm in diameter and about 20 µm in length.

• IMAGING TOOL: Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

Scientific Image - Glass Nanowire

This is a scanning electron microscope image of a silica nanowire on a silica aerogel surface. New technologies have made it possible to draw glass in long, ultra-smooth wires with uniform diameters in the nanometer range. Because of their extraordinary uniformity, these nanowires have unique properties important in optics and photonics, both of which require precise control of light.

• SIZE: The nanowire is 530 nm long and the radius of the bent wire is 8 µm.

• IMAGING TOOL: Scanning Electron Microscope

Virtual Lab - Remote Access to Instrumentation

The NACK center at Penn State University has set up a remote access to the Instrumentation available in their labs for educators to use in class. This is available free of cost to educators. Traditionally, an engineer from Penn State University orchestrates the instrument's use, while offering additional assistance via audio and visual internet software. However if you are familiar with the equipment (AFM, SEM , UV-Vis) you can control it from your location using your computer, internet connection and Skype.


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