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Nanoartography 2023

Image credit: Moritz ExnerNanoArtography 2023  

2023 Award Winners
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NanoArtography 2023 Numbers
Total submissions: 306 from 36 countries


Drop of Aperol 

Bernardo Cesare

University of Padua, Italy

I like to take photomicrographs of crystallized drops of some popular Italian alcoholic drinks (Aperol, Campari, Limoncello), that I capture with a polarizing microscope. The time taken for crystallization is variable: limoncello is fast, and the first crystals appear after two to three days. Conversely, Aperol didn't show any crystallization for almost two months. Then, one morning, I discovered that most drops had become beautiful aggregates of crystals.

This shot is the view of an entire crystallized drop of Aperol, with a full radiating aggregate of sucrose crystals. Crystallization commenced from approximately the center of the drop, and crystals grew projecting outwards. Doing so, they increased in width and thickness. Thickness variations are denoted by the changes of interference color across single crystals. The width of the image is 3.5 mm. 

SECOND PLACE (tie two ways)

Emerging Dragon
Patricia Lyons & Gregory Schwenk

Drexel University, USA 


The colorized and enhanced micrograph shows the filamentous nature and one-dimensionality (1D) of the underlying titania nanofilaments, a novel nanostructured material referred to as 1D titania-based lepidocrocite (1DL) and discovered in the Materials Science & Engineering Department at Drexel. The image width is 0.030 mm.  

SECOND PLACE (tie two ways)


José Manuel Martínez López

Química Tech Mexico, Mexico


To make this art piece, ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) was dissolved in tequila, and a small drop was applied to a microscope slide, which was then heated with an alcohol lamp to expedite crystallization. However, the EDTA was burned, leading to the formation of bubbles. The bubbles were observed under a polarized reflected light microscope equipped with a 50x/0.8 objective. Contrary to conventional practice, the aperture was closed to its minimum, resulting in the production of distinct rays.  The width of the image is 0.270 mm. 

THIRD PLACE (tie four ways)

MXene Jeobeon Fan

Marley Downes, Mark Anayee, & Yong-Jae Kim

Drexel University, USA

This is a scanning electron microscopy image of a multilayer Ti3C2Tx MXene particle that was partially exfoliated by high-shear mixing. The sample was prepared and imaged at KAIST/NNFC in Daejeon, South Korea during a visit from Philadelphia, USA. The particle resembles a folding fan and has close to the 18 ribs commonly found on traditional Korean fans. The surrounding small particles resemble falling petals off Cherry Blossom trees that blossom in the Spring throughout South Korea and Philadelphia. The image width is 0.036 mm.

THIRD PLACE (tie four ways)

At the Jeweller’s

Dominika Benkowska-Biernacka 

Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, Poland

This micrograph depicts a liquid crystalline material – 4-octyl 4-cyanobiphenyl. Long cylindrical structures, referred to as myelin figures, spontaneously formed within oval shapes in aqueous cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB). Myelin figures derive their name from their resemblance to the biological membrane that covers nerve fibers. This image was captured using a polarized light microscope. The image width is 1.55 mm. 

THIRD PLACE (tie four ways)

Silver Xmas Xstallite NanoTree

Gianluca Milano, Irdi Murataj & Luca Boarino

Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca Metrologica, Italy


Silver Xmas Xstallite nanoTree grown by electrodeposition from liquid silver nitrate (AgNO3). At Xmas time, small ions, electrons, atoms and molecules gather together in magic chemical and physical conditions to form self-assembled decorative nanostructures for the joy of children and people of goodwill. The image width is 0.0075 mm.  

THIRD PLACE (tie four ways)

Ant Eye

Márcio de Paula

University of São Paulo, Brazil


The image in an electronic microscope was obtained after inclining the holder by 90 degrees in order to obtain a different angle from the ant's eye. The artwork was made using Photoshop software. The image width is 0.02747 mm.  


Christmas Flower

Sarah Briceño, Gema Gonzalez & Maria Fernanda Vega

Yachay Tech University, Ecuador

The scanning electron micrograph represents the calcium carbonate formation as a subproduct during the synthesis of hydroxyapatite nanoparticles. The image width is 0.040 mm.


Fire and Ice

Ken Aldren Usman (a), Kartik Nemani (b) & Joselito Razal (a)

(a) Deakin University, Australia, (b) IUPUI, USA

Introducing the 'Fiber Knot of Fire and Ice'! As the threads dance through a mesmerizing metamorphosis, colors shift from blazing red to icy blue. It is a chromatic journey that ignites the imagination – a knotty tale of contrasting elements woven into a vibrant tapestry of color. A confluence of nature's two immense forces, visualized through a gorgeously twisted MXene-polyacrylic acid composite fiber. The image width is 0.2 mm. 


Ocean of Carbonate Crystals

Mohammad Houshmand Khaneghahi

Drexel University, USA

We have developed bacterial-laden polymeric fiber for self-healing applications in contentious matrices. The electron microscopic image here is the calcium carbonate precipitation on a cement-based substrate producing flower-shaped calcite crystals. The image width is 0.07 mm. 


Nautilus Shell

Oliver Meckes & Nicole Ottawa

Eye of Science GbR, Germany

Broken shell of a nautilid. This is the "siphunculus", the tube that runs through all chambers of the shell. The typical layered structure of mother-of-pearl, consisting of small crystal platelets and the outer layer of the siphunculus with needle-like crystals, is clearly visible. The image width is 0.150 mm. 


2D Becomes Tribbles

Di Wang 

University of Chicago, USA

This pixel-enhanced scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image represents Ti2CCl2 MXene "tribbles" grown by chemical vapor deposition (CVD). The 2D layers of this material grew perpendicular to the substrate and then folded into microspherical structures.  The image width is 0.013 mm. 


MXene Gorilla

Motahare S. Mohseni-Salehi

Tarbiat Modares University, Iran

This artwork is V2CTx MXene layers synthesized via chemical etching of the V2AlC MAX phase under an argon atmosphere and imaged by a scanning electron microscope. These stacked MXene layers are shaped like a smiling gorilla, ready to intercalate metal ions to electrochemical storage! The image width is 0.042 mm. 


Master of Disguise

Sharon Lim Xiaodai & Chia Xuan Ye

National University of Singapore, Singapore

What appears to be part of a bird with its feathers tucked neatly is, in fact, the leg of a common ant found in Singapore. Many things may not be what they first appear to be in life. Sometimes, many wonders are discovered through a change of perspective, just like how the beautiful structure of an ant's leg can be revealed with the help of a scanning electron microscope. The image width is 0.16 mm. 


MXene Volcano

Ken Aldren Usman, Nithin Chandran B S, & Anupma Thakur

Purdue University, USA 

Witness the fiery depths and explore the mysteries of the MXene volcano!

The centerpiece of this artwork is derived from a scanning electron microscopy image of a Ti3C2Tx MXene fiber. The resulting additive-free Ti3C2Tx MXene dispersion was used to wet-spin these fibers. May this fiery eruption serve as a reminder of the relentless forces that shape our planet and the fragile existence of human civilization in the face of such elemental power. The image width is 0.040 mm. 


The Lonely Lotus 

Lakkimsetti Lakshmi Praveen, Mahin Saif Nowl, Saumen Mandal

NIT Karnataka, India 

The scanning electron micrograph represents the as-synthesized cobalt hydroxide micro-flower, synthesized using the hydrothermal method. The micro-flower is an ensemble of hexagonal sheets of cobalt hydroxide that self-assembled due to hydrothermal reaction conditions. The hierarchical flower architecture-based screen-printed film has exhibited an excellent gas response towards ammonia gas detection for gas-sensing applications. The image width is 0.028 mm. 


Plants of MXene Coated E.coli on Polypropylene Fabric

Zhila Dehghan

Missouri University Science & Technology, USA

The star of the exhibit is the E. coli bacterium, carefully placed and magnificently depicted on the canvas of polypropylene fabric and coated with MXene flakes, reminiscent of a delicate plant's structure. The image width is ~ 0.100 mm. 


MXene Nanoblossoms

Francisco Lagunas Vargas & Zachary Hood

Argonne National Laboratory, USA

MXene Nanoblossoms are like nature's tiniest, most enchanting flowers, but with a cutting-edge twist. These miniature marvels are cultivated through a fascinating process known as Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD), resulting in the growth of delicate Ti3C2Cl2 MXene structures that resemble nature's blooms on the nanoscale. Picture this: within the confines of a laboratory, the Ti3C2Cl2 MXene blossoms like a nanoscale garden. But don't be fooled by their fragility; these MXene nanoblossoms possess incredible strength and versatility, promising a future where they may revolutionize energy storage, catalysis, and countless other applications. The image width is 0.00071 mm. 


Zinc Oxide Coral

Allen J A & Viswanthan C

Bharathiar University, TamilNadu, India

Zinc oxide nanorods are hydrothermally anchored over a sputter-deposited zinc oxide seed layer on a carbon fiber. ZnO sputter seeds are so dense that the nanorods are densely packed on a carbon fiber, resembling a coral reef. The image width is 0.030 mm. 


Nano Ocean

Tian-Yu Zhang

Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Science, China

Scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of the stacked nanosheets of Ti3C2 MXene material, representing the body of fish that is swimming in the ocean of science. MXenes are promising materials for energy storage devices such as supercapacitors and batteries. The SEM image was taken using Thermo Scientific Verios G4 UC Scanning Electron Microscope and colored and visualized using computer software without any manipulation of the original image. The image width is 0.0169 mm. 


Lonely Dandelion

Behnam Chameh

University of Eastern Finland, Finland

This image shows metal-organic framework material based on Indium (MIL-68 (In)) synthesized by a solvothermal approach. The scanning electron microscopy image shows one big yellow, full-grown dandelion made with rods. This dandelion flower was imaged using a Scanning electron microscope. The image width is 0.04 mm.



Mohammad Alinezhadfar

Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), Switzerland

The electron microscopy image shows the captivating world of crystalline structures: metallic zinc dendrites and zinc phosphates. Zinc dendrites form tree-like shapes, with branches diverging in a delicate dance, showcasing nature's fractal beauty. Adjacently, zinc phosphates exhibit ordered geometric entities, representing their rectangular crystalline structure. The stark contrast between these structures highlights the diverse morphology resulting from distinct chemical compositions. What enhances the astonishment is the synthesis method—electrochemical deposition, a process manipulating electric currents for material growth. The image width is 0.04 mm.


Refractory Caramel

Terebilenko Anastasia

Enamine Ltd, Ukraine

This is a color scanning electron microscopy image of rhenium metal powder. Particles of flaky powder from one of the most refractory metals resemble solidified caramel. The image width is 0.059 mm.

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