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Nanoartography 2021

Image credit: Kousik Papakollu, NanoArtography 2021  

2021 Award Winners
Click on the images to see them in full size.
NanoArtography 2021 Numbers
Total submissions: 195 from 28 countries
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The Snow Has Fallen Over the Pine Forest 

Andreia Sofia Santana dos Santos,

Associaco Almascience - lnvestigacao e Desenvolvimento em Celulose para Aplicacoes lnteligentes e Sustentaveis (ALMASCIENCE), Portugal

This image shows a polydimethylsiloxane micro-structured film covered with the ink of silver particles. The micro­structuring was achieved by using laser engraving equipment to produce a mold in an acrylic substrate and then using the mold in a soft-lithography process. The ink was spread over the structures by spin-coating. These films have been employed in e-skin like piezoresistive sensors, resistive temperature sensors, and even energy harvesters.

SECOND PLACE (tie two ways)

The Concert
Bernardo Cesare, 

Dept. of Geosciences, University of Padova, Italy 


Polarized light photomicrograph of a thin section of Agate from Brazil. Agate is made of microcrystalline quartz, called chalcedony. This specimen is peculiar for the extremely fine-grained chalcedony in the central and top parts, as opposed to the coarser crystals in the lower band. Here, the parallel vertical alignment of some crystals recalls a crowd facing a stage or a beach. The image width is 5.3 mm.  

SECOND PLACE (tie two ways)

Mandala Art

Shalakha Saha,

Indian Institute of Technology – Hyderabad, India


The FESEM micrograph represents nickel foam decorated with arrays of cobalt-molybdenum mixed sulfide micro-flower as-synthesized using the hydrothermal method. The hierarchical flower architecture-based electrode has exhibited excellent electrochemical performance when evaluated for high-performance supercapacitor application. 

THIRD PLACE (tie four ways)

Your Visual Mind Comes From Your Visual Brain
Gabriele Deidda, University of Malta, Dept. of Physiology and Biochemistry, Malta

Your mind is mostly visual, meaning that most of the sensory perceptions of the external world and the greater part of your memories are dominated by visual components. Think about when you imagine a new idea or when you recall a moment of your childhood: you can’t exclude that mostly on the sensory information you get into your mind are visual, rather than related to other sensory modalities (touch or taste, for example). 

Why is your mind mostly visual? Simply because the generator of your mind (your brain) is structured in a way that half of its cortical surface (yes half of it!) processes and computes visual sensory information, relegating only the other half to compute all the others sensory modalities, plus the motor and cognitive behaviors. I conceived and realized this image to communicate that we see with our brain. Do you see it? The image width is 0.8 mm. 

THIRD PLACE (tie four ways)

Minuscule Beach

Parvin Fathi-Hafshejani, Seyed Adib Taba,

Auburn University, The University of Texas at Dallas, USA


The layered nanomaterial world not only resembles everyday wonders but also contributes in a big way from its tiny world. The image shows MoS2 nano/microstructures prepared with laser processing (the jungle) and without laser processing (the beach). The main idea was to connect the real world with the nanomaterial world observed in a scanning electron microscope (SEM) and how we can engineer nanostructures. The image width is 0.254 mm.

THIRD PLACE (tie four ways)

Precipitation of Life

Shivam Kumar Dwivedi, Abishek M, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India


This is the microscopy image that resembles precipitating chemical reaction. The term ‘precipitation reaction’ can be defined as “a chemical reaction occurring in an aqueous solution where two ionic bonds combine, resulting in the formation of an insoluble salt”. These insoluble salts formed in precipitation reactions are called precipitates. It is the chemical reaction between potassium chloride and silver nitrate, in which solid silver chloride is precipitated out. This is the insoluble salt formed as a product of the precipitation reaction in the same manner life is also a precipitation of birth & death. 

THIRD PLACE (tie four ways)

Hydroquinone Micro-Big Bang 

José Manuel Martínez López, Química Tech, Mexico



This is hydroquinone dissolved in Oporto wine and crystallized under heat from an alcohol lamp. The interference colors were obtained by rotating the compensator at the polarizer. The image width is ~ 0.7 mm.  


i-Chakra – Redefining the Wheel of Technological innovations

Nitin Arya, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India

The image symbolizes the turning of the wheel of technological advancements from its infancy stage of just a mechanical wheel invented around 5000 years ago to the emergence of super-functioning miniaturized electronic devices. Silicon nanowires (SiNWs) have proven to be the building blocks of nanoscale devices with their remarkable performance and uncomplicated bottom-up synthesis methods such as the VLS mechanism. The image depicts the synthesis of SiNWs by blending a high-resolution TEM micrograph of a tin oxide nanoparticle and a Si nanowire (reproduced multiple times). The shown SiNWs were grown by Sn-assisted hot-filament-enabled VLS using hot-wire CVD technique. The outer periphery of the image shows the oxide layer of the tin particle whereas the inner part shows the atomistically resolved Sn atoms and the SiNWs arranged like the spokes of the wheel. Moreover, the left part of the image shows the as-grown Sn atoms whereas the right one shows the molten Sn atoms exposed to Si flux by hot filament showed as very bright spots. Slight modifications in the original image such as minute changes in the appearance of the outer boundary, little enlargement of the features, and use of fake colors/effects were done using Photoshop.


Is There Anybody Out There?   
Avishek Karmakar, Drexel University, USA

Two-dimensional (2D) layered material synthesized by a bottom-up method using a non-layered precursor viz. titanium carbide. The 2D sheets stack up to form these layered solid materials which resemble a night wolf in terms of energy (storage) and rigidity. They are thermally stable, highly conductive and show applications as photoluminescent materials-depicted by the glowing eyes of the wolf. The image width is 0.002 mm. 


Lost cat: Last Seen in SEM 

Yooran Im, Kartik Nemani – Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, USA

This picture shows the ceramic grains of borides. The pore formed between the grains resembles a little cat in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) image! The image width is ~ 0.005 mm. 


The Eyes of the Monster
Rozita Rouzbahani – Hasselt University, Belgium


The original image was captured by scanning electron microscopy from polycrystalline boron-doped diamonds which were grown on the carbon fibers by the chemical vapor deposition technique. The idea of this artwork came to my mind based on the horror-thriller movie named “The eye”.

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Wander Land
Diyi Cheng, Bingyu Lu, Wurigumula Bao - University of California, San Diego, USA

LiCoO2 thin film deposited on alumina substrate. Film cracking was found after thermal annealing, which presents an abstract architecture. The image width is 0.7 mm. 



Bernardo Cesare – Dept. of Geosciences, University of Padova, Italy

This photo tells us of a geological event half a billion years ago, when extreme heat deep within the Earth gave rise to this crystal formation. Like a stained-glass window, the black graphite cuts across the colorful panels of quartz and feldspar. Feldspar is the most abundant silicate (of Al, K, and Na) of the Earth’s continental crust. I use photomicrographs to study rocks and minerals, not only to make images with artistic intent. In this case, I actually studied - with colleague and friend Satish Kumar - this granulite rock from a working quarry in Kerala, India. The microscopic scene that we observe formed at almost 900 °C when the feldspars crystallized together with graphite in this beautiful intergrowth. While most minerals, including all silicates, become transparent to light when thinned down at 30-micron width, some remain opaque. Graphite is among them, and this explains why it creates the black strokes in this photo. The image width is 2.7 mm. 



Karl Gaff – TU Dublin School of Physics, Clinical & Optometric Sciences, Ireland



Wiggling up through the soil, seedlings are rapidly drawn towards the light. This is a crystalline film formed from a chemical cocktail consisting of various sulfate salts, photographed in compensated polarised light. 

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Malachite Meadow 
Anastasiia Terebilenko – M.G. Kholodny Institute of Botany, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Ukraine


The image shows various structures and forms of malachite crystals. Microcrystals were synthesized by precipitation from aqueous solutions. Fake colors were added using computer software. The image width is 0.04 mm. 

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