Researchers may have come a step closer to producing diverse microscopic and nanoscale particles for high-tech materials and drug delivery. Looking for a way to make a variety of particle shapes on demand to study their different properties, a team at the University of California, Santa Barbara, stretched polymer sheets encrusted with spherical polystyrene beads (the same stuff as Styrofoam packaging peanuts) and melted them with heat or solvents. The particles, which measured 60 nanometers to 10 micrometers wide, were thus pulled into one of the myriad shapes above, as described in the July 17 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.