1,100 Words

Xuanhe Zhao

Precision Wrinkles

Taking a lesson from the way human skin can wrinkle, assistant professor Xuanhe Zhao of mechanical engineering and materials science has developed a nanofilm that is spread on a pre-stretched surface and then allowed to relax, creating a microscopic landscape with a precise pattern of high peaks and low valleys. The method produces large-area surface patterns faster, cheaper and with more precision than existing approaches. So far, the technique has produced stretchable water-shedding coatings and a cell-culture surface that can make stem cells line up on command. This image appeared on the cover of Advanced Materials (vol 26, pg 1633, 2014).