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In Pictures

Living Synthetic Surfaces

Wrinkles are found all over nature, from the individuality of our fingerprints to the signs of aging on our faces. The compressive stresses that cause wrinkles to develop can be used to create complex patterns on the surfaces of synthetic materials.  UMass Amherst researchers have combined the processes of crumpling and wrinkling on a polymer surface to create the structures that you see in this image captured by a light microscope. The wrinkled pattern surfaces can adapt to different environmental factors and their adhesion or reflectivity can change as the environment changes, creating a 'living' synthetic surface. Learn more.

Photo credit: Crosby Research Group, courtesy of Visual Image Library