Science Online

Science  24 Nov 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5496, pp. 1459
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5496.1459e

Scientists noticed more than 300 years ago that camphor particles dropped on water will dance across the surface, propelled by surface tension. This week in Science, Schmid et al. report on p. 1561 that a mechanism similar to the “camphor dance” may be at work in the formation of alloys. In two videos on Science Online, you can see this process: amoebalike blobs of tin sweep across a few hundred nanometers of copper, exchanging atoms with copper to form pockets of bronze, then scamper away to unalloyed areas.

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