Science as Art Winners from the 2012 MRS Spring Meeting

Below are images from the 2012 MRS Spring Meeting Science as Art Competition.

Copyright for these images belongs to the Materials Research Society. To request permission to re-use the images, contact Anita Miller at

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  • First place: "A Dendritic Baby Giraffe Born Inside Ni-Al-C Melt"

    Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image depicts a baby giraffe formed within a jungle of Ni-Al-C dendrites. As the molten alloy was being solidified inside a graphitic crucible, the melt was decanted, leaving behind a little dendrite wetted by a thin molten blanket. As the jungle got colder, the blanket froze and rejected carbon which eventually crystallized as a graphite cover. Upon further cooling, the graphitic cover wrinkled, due to its thermal expansion coefficient mismatch with metallic substrate, creating a faceted network of creases resembling the familiar skin patches of a giraffe. - Shaahin Amini and Reza Abbaschian, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of California Riverside

  • First place: "The Dark Forest of GaAs/GaInP Nanowires "

    Looking into the dark forest of GaAs/GaInP nanowires imaged by SEM. The nanowires were grown in two steps: first the GaAs stem using a Au particle as seed particle in MOVPE. The sample was removed from the reactor and a layer of HSQ resist was applied by spinning, forming a thin layer of moss. When the GaInP was grown during a second MOVPE step, the resist prevented growth on the substrate and sidewalls of the GaAs stems. The image is artificially colorized, but based on EDS measurements; light green represents GaInP and light brown/red GaAs. The substrate and base of GaAs nanowires has a dark green color to represent the areas where thicker resist was detected. - Daniel Jacobsson, Lund University

  • First place: "Mountains of Organic Crystal Snow"

    A stunning visual pattern of high-performance organic semiconductor crystals obtained using cross-polarized optical microscopy. The image is completely original without editing. The nucleating point shows a pattern that resembles a lone man wearing a curious hat on top of a mountain made from organic crystals amid a sea of other crystals. The cross-polarizer modulates the brightness of the different mountain top, providing a perspective of depth. The Haiku was inspired by the man-like figure: " The scientist sits atop, Mountains of organic crystal snow, Yonder the electrons flow? - Benjamin Tee

  • Second place: "Spring is Here"

    Spring is here! False color SEM image of carbon nanotube pillars synthesized by cappilography. – Adrianus I Aria, California Institute of Technology.

  • Second place: "Baked Cupcakes"

    Colorized SEM image showing arrays of baked cupcakes through self-assembly of colloidal “sprinkles” onto the surface of premade cupcakes. - Le He

  • Second place: "The Persistence of Lithography"

    SEM image taken after a failed evaporation of Cu metal onto a patterned Si wafer. - Emily Warren

  • Second place: "Son of the Sea Jellyfish"

    Technique: SEM image, the GeTe nanostructure was synthesised by CVD method. - Qiqi Zhuo

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