A Crystal on a Curve Becomes a Ribbon (1 of 8) (video) American Association for the Advancement of Science Share Print E-Mail Loading video... Caption This is a time-lapse video of a crystal growing on a water droplet, as imaged using a confocal microscope. The crystal is composed of colloidal particles 1 micrometer in diameter (about 1/100 the width of a human hair, and 10,000 times larger than an atom). On a flat surface, the small growing crystallites could merge together to form a large domain, but on the curved surface of the droplet, the pieces cannot fit together -- just as strips cut from a sheet of paper cannot perfectly cover a ball. As a result, the crystal forms ribbon-like domains that branch from one another. The effects of curvature on growth may be relevant to understanding the self-assembly of curved nanoscale objects, such as viruses. This video relates to a paper that appeared in the Feb. 7, 2014, issue of Science, published by AAAS. The paper, by Guangnan Meng at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, and colleagues was titled, "Elastic Instability of a Crystal Growing on a Curved Surface." Credit Video courtesy of Guangnan Meng, Harvard University Usage Restrictions Please cite the owner of the video when publishing. This video may be freely used by reporters as part of news coverage, with proper attribution. Non-reporters must contact Science for permission. Share Print E-Mail Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.