Self-Assembly via Evaporation

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When working at the microscale, engineering structures like those used for drug delivery systems requires ingenuity. Since it isn’t possible to manipulate particles manually, researchers harness physical effects to do the work for them. Here a droplet filled with millions of polystyrene microparticles sits on a hydrophobic surface, which helps keep the drop’s spherical shape. As the drop evaporates, surface tension and internal flow in the drop help the microparticles self-assemble into a microscopic soccer-ball-like shape. (Video credit: A. Marin et al.; submission by A. Marin)

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