In the background of this image we see nickel nanowires (the hairy structures) synthesized using an electro-deposition method. Such nanowires hold promise as key components of environment and health sensors and energy-scavenging devices. The large grape-like micro-spheres in the foreground are by-products in the manufacturing of these nanowires. We are not sure why the micro-spheres occur or whether they might have potential useful applications in their own right.
This image was taken with an Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope, which allows us to see nanostructures in their native state with extraordinary three-dimensional clarity. Field of view: 60 microns.