Many of the materials that scientists work with at Brookhaven National Laboratory are too small and too precise for traditional tools. In cases like these, the labs grow materials instead of building them. Brookhaven physicist Genda Gu pioneered techniques that grow some of the largest single-crystal high-temperature superconductors in the world. The glowing chamber in this photo grows superconducting crystals. To do so, the furnace focuses infrared light onto a rod, melting it around 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Under just the right conditions, the liquefied material recrystallizes as a single uniform structure, which is highly sensitive and takes about one month to form. | Photo courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory.