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Chemical Pop-Up Books

How some devices build themselves

Many beasts, buildings, and beauties greet children who open pop-up books: a Tyrannosaurus rex with jaws agape, elaborate medieval castles with soaring towers, the Statue of Liberty with her torch held high. These detailed objects take their three-dimensional shape with the turn of a page, arising from intricately folded paper. Today, chemists and engineers are making their own sophisticated versions of pop-up structures. What they lack in whimsy, they may someday gain in practical function.

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