The laws of symmetry are unforgiving, but a team of researchers from the US have come up with a pattern-producing technique that seems to cheat them. The new technique is called moiré nanolithography and the researchers hope that it will find useful applications in the production of solar panels and many other optical devices.

This pattern with kite-shaped tiles can be extended to cover any area, but however big we make it, the pattern never repeats itself. Alison Boyle investigates aperiodic tilings, which have had unexpected applications in describing new crystal structures.
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