This week’s featured image is a Scanning Electron Micrograph of another surface area from the “hexagons” sample we have been profiling since our first microMondays blog post.  In this image we see a number of small crystals all laying flat on the ceramic surface like tiny geometric tiles.  Some appear to be growing into each other, or even on top of one another.  It’s interesting to wonder whether features like this micro-crystal patch could actually be felt as a distinct texture on the surface of a pot (see for example this news blurb on research on the limits of touch sensitivity).

K-12 STEAM Connections:  Below we include both a high-resolution version of the header image and a zoomed-in image at ten times higher magnification.  Looking first at the zoomed-in image, we can note of course that the crystal “tiles” come in a number of different shapes.  Focusing on the corners of the most well-formed crystals, how many different angles can you find?  Are any of the angles related to one another?  Measurements like this provide clues about the mineral identities of the crystals, which can be considered together with elemental composition data from techniques such as EDS (more on this in the next few weeks).

Acknowledgments:  Part of this work was performed at the Stanford Nano Shared Facilities (SNSF) of Stanford University.