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Nano builders rejoice: for the first time, scientists have watched crystals grow atom by atom, offering incredible control over their microscopic structure. The technique could lead to customisable crystals that would find uses in diverse fields, from water purifiers to cloaking technologies.

"For the first time, we can actually image the motion of individual atoms, and observe the atom-by-atom assembly of crystals," says Nicolas Barry at the University of Warwick, UK.

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