EYE OF SCIENCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY EYE OF SCIENCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Lotus leaf surface. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) showing the microstructures on the surface of a leaf from a lotus (Nelumbo sp.) plant. These structures on the top of the leaf, along with a waxy coating (removed here), help to repel water droplets better than any other material in nature. This helps the leaves to stay clean and stops fungi and other organisms from settling on them. This 'lotus effect' is being studied so that similar mechanisms can be implemented to produce 'self-cleaning' house paints. Magnification: x1250 when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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