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July 11, 2008

Stanford builds the smallest 'Tree' ever

"El Palo Alto," the landmark redwood that is the centerpiece of the Stanford Seal and the lively mascot of the Stanford Band, rises an impressive 110 feet as it stands next to the railroad tracks near campus. Meanwhile, in a Stanford Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory, Assistant Professor Yi Cui has grown what is surely the smallest replica of the "tall tree" ever created. His version, constructed of lead selenide nanowires, is roughly a million times smaller than the living, breathing redwood near El Camino Real. Electron microscope photos of Cui's "tree" were recently published in the respected science journal Nature Nanotechnology to demonstrate something called the Eshelby Twist. (Note that the trunk of the nanowire tree is twisted, causing the branches to spiral around the tree.) But to Cui, "The most exciting thing is that we produced the Stanford Tree at the nanoscale."



Dan Stober, Stanford News Service: (650) 721-6965,


Yi Cui, Materials Science and Engineering: (650) 723-4613,

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