Toy chest?

The size of a speck of dust, this tiny box folded up all on its own when heated. Such an autonomous process is known as “self-assembly,” in which unorganized components form an organized structure solely through interaction with one another, with no outside direction. In this case, the researchers developed a 2-D pattern for a 3-D cube, using different metals for the “walls” than for the corners or “hinges.” When heated, the hinges balled up and in doing so pulled the walls of the pattern together, forming the box.


Credit: MRS

Toy chest?

The size of a speck of dust, this tiny box folded up all on its own when heated. Such an autonomous process is known as “self-assembly,” in which unorganized components form an organized structure solely through interaction with one another, with no outside direction. In this case, the researchers developed a 2-D pattern for a 3-D cube, using different metals for the “walls” than for the corners or “hinges.” When heated, the hinges balled up and in doing so pulled the walls of the pattern together, forming the box.

Credit: MRS