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These articles were published in our popular science magazine: Inside Diamond
Believe it or not, our eyes contain trace amounts of metal that are essential to function. The levels of these metals are tightly controlled – but sometimes, as the result of age or disease, the regulation of this fine balance gets disrupted. This causes the metals to become toxic, which can contribute to impaired vision.
By pouring molten metal into a mould and freezing it into a solid, we can create all sorts of metallic objects: from statues to car parts. When you make ice cream it’s important to mix part way through freezing to break up clumps – the same is true for metal casting. Mixing gives the solid metal a finer structure and different properties.
When you pair materials together on the nanoscale, they can sometimes behave in new and interesting ways. Scientists are exploring these material pairs to try and develop new ‘artificial’ materials which have properties that are not found in nature.
These beautiful swirling colours indicate the intersection of copper and gold on the surface of a 1,500 year old Anglo-Saxon brooch. The ornamental object was found at Oakington, Cambridgeshire inside the grave of a pregnant woman.
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
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