Science as Art Winners from the 2013 MRS Spring Meeting

Below are the first and second place images from the 2013 MRS Spring Meeting Science as Art competition.

Copyright for these images belongs to the Materials Research Society. To request permission to reuse the images, please contact Anita Miller at

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  • First Place - Playful Hedgehog Particles

    The "Hedgehog" particles with nano-scale corrugation are sculpted by interfacial growth of rigid ZnO nanowires on polymeric microspheres. - Joong Hwan Bahng, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

  • First Place - Nano-Flowers

    Zinc-doped tin oxide nano-flowers grown by hydrothermal method. - Mulmudi Hemant Kumar, Nanyang Technological University

  • First Place - Tetraaniline in Full Bloom

    An SEM image of a thin-sheet network composed of doped aniline oligomers. The aggregated sheets in the upper right corner forms a cluster that mimics the look of a flower, whereas other flexible sheets represents leaves and stems. The background and the "leaves" were kept in black and white to give prominence to the beauty and brightness of the "flower". Scientifically, this morphology combines high surface area and electrical conductivity, rendering it ideal for organic supercapacitors and sensors. - Yue Wang, University of California, Los Angeles

  • First Place - Freeze

    Organic nanowires with inorganic nanoparticles coating. - Yang Hui Ying, Singapore University of Technology and Design

  • Second Place - On the Beach at Night, Alone

    A composite of three scanning electron microscope images taken at different focal lengths of a carbonized silicon nanowire array. Utilizing the NovelX mySEM low voltage imaging system, the near and far range images were taken with standard backscatter collection while the middle range image was taken using the Topo mode in order to capture the relief of the silicon "dunes". The three images were combined and colorized in photoshop. This scene takes its name from the Walt Whitman poem which describes the interconnected nature of the Universe, and the "vast similitude that interlocks all." While we work on the nanoscale, our efforts have impact on the way humans interact with the world on the macroscale. As well we find reflections of our macro world forms in the shapes and forms of the nano one. - John Alper, University of California, Berkeley

  • Second Place - Organic Butterflies Frolicking in Fractal Flowers

    A serendipitous pattern of high-performance organic semiconductor crystal thin films. Crystal birefringence under polarized light gives unique vibrant colors to paint a splendid image of organic butterflies frolicking in fractal flowers. The two crystalline polymorphs transform from the mother liquid crystalline phase, one into flower-like fractals with fractal morphology, the other trapped into a metastable spherulite, which took the shape of fluttering butterflies. - Ying Diao, Stanford University

  • Second Place - Fanning Crystal

    Unexpected crystals of iron sulfides by Scanning Electron Microscopy. - Diana Mars, San Francisco State University

  • Second Place - Quantum River

    This is a Scanning Tunneling Microscopy image of Au induced nanowires on a Ge(001) substrate, recorded at temperature 77 K in ultra-high vacuum (UHV) conditions. The nanowires are prepared by depositing a monolayer of Au on an atomically clean Ge(001) surface followed by annealing at 650 ± 25 K for several minutes in UHV. The nanowires are an example of one dimensional structures that are parallel to each other with a spacing of 1.6 nm. They confine electrons in the troughs between the nanowires and demonstrate quantum phenomena such as Tomonaga-Luttinger liquid behavior. The art work is an artist's impression of one dimensional electronic states confined between two adjacent nanowires, hence the name quantum river. - T.F. Mocking, University of Twente

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