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2015 Scientific Images Contest Winners

Chaos to Order Open Access (recommended)

2015 Second Place | This image shows two materials sandwiched together. The bottom layer is a rubbery gel; it expands when heated and shrinks when cooled. The top layer is incredibly thin glass.Materials scientists heat the gel to extremely hot temperatures (392 degrees Fahrenheit) and then create a thin layer of glass on the surface. As the gel shrinks it pulls the glass sheet into a wrinkly pattern. The glass ridges ripple in yellow; the darker spots are the valleys in-between.This sandwiching process was invented at Northwestern University to develop new, microscopic instruments and tools. When perfected, this method results in tiny rubber pyramids tipped with fine glass points. The pyramids act like quill pens with built-in shock absorbers -- pens which write with single molecules or nano-particles for ink. Tools like these help nanoparticle researchers with more precise, more delicate maneuvers as they begin to study ever smaller aspects of material design.Department of Materials Science & Engineering Tools & Techniques: Optical Microscope + colored in Photoshop


Resource type(s)
Pictorial Works
Materials science
Nanoparticle research
All rights reserved
Hedrick, James Lupton
This image originally appeared as part of Northwestern's Scientific Images Contest. The contest and subsequent exhibitions are organized by Science in Society, the university's research center for science education and public engagement. Further information and opportunities to participate are available on their website. Prints and canvas editions of these Northwestern research images can also be purchased online (with the small net profit going to science education and outreach programming in the Chicago area).
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Science in Society
DigitalHub. Galter Health Sciences Library
Date Created
Subject: MESH
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