2013 Art of Science contest

 
Help Argonne choose the winners of its 2013 Art of Science contest. The annual contest calls for lab employees and users of Argonne’s facilities to submit images and photographs that showcase their research. Some are computer simulations, some are photographs, and some are taken with incredibly powerful transmission electron microscopes that see down to nearly atomic level; all of them show the stunning intersection of beauty and science in Argonne’s world-class labs. Votes will be accepted through Nov. 1, 2013.

As you scroll through, pick your top 3 and rank them at the bottom.
Forest of Atoms
These tiny cadmium nanorods are so small that the entire field of vision is just 13 x 13 nanometers (for scale, your fingernails grow about 1 nanometer per second). It was taken with a transmission electron microscope with color added.
Image as described above
Mystic Indium
These are droplets of metallic indium on a silicon oxide surface. Metallic droplets are a stage in the process to grow nanowires, which scientists are studying for future generations of batteries and other technologies. The nanowires need something to "climb" on to start growing--that's why some of the droplets appear to be covered by ice-like sheets and crystals. (The original black & white scanning electron microscopy image has color added.)
Image as described above
Indium Balloon on a Nano Silicon String
Scientifically, this electron microscope image depicts the emergence of silicon nano strands (green) from an indium droplet (blue) during a plasma-assisted physical vapor deposition growth process. The blue balloon is an indium droplet. The growing silicon nanostrands (which form the string) lift the balloon from a silicon wafer substrate - the nanostrand is speckled with indium droplets. Metaphorically, the image portrays a night scene lit up by glowing lights. A blue balloon dances through the night sky, followed by a glowing trail of dusty light. There is something hopeful about the one blue balloon with its speckled tail. It dances playfully and engages the viewer, flying through the sky followed by a trail of dusty light.
Image as described above
Copper Shock Waves
These are two types of copper. Pure copper (top half) conducts heat very well. Dispersion-hardened copper (lower half) is stronger. You are looking at a pinhead-sized piece of this metal where the two metals were explosively joined and the shockwave forced one into the other. This is part of studies to find the best materials (that balance conductivity and strength) to use during experiments at Argonne's extremely powerful X-ray synchrotron, the Advanced Photon Source.
Image as described above
Kaleidoscopic Future Energy
This is an extreme closeup on a silicon solar cell, so that you can see the anti-reflection coating on top. Silicon solar cells are the most common type on the market, and understanding how to maximize the light coming in is crucial for making them more efficient.
Image as described above
Nibbled Nano Apple from Garden of Eden
Gold nano-platelets with a crystalline structure arranged in a way that it looks like an apple nibbled by Adam and Eve.
Image as described above
The Small Blue Yonder
These are yttrium oxide crystals, activated using a special technique called atomic layer deposition to make them luminescent (glowing). Luminescent materials are crucial for energy-efficient lighting. Each crystal is smaller than the diameter of a single strand of spider silk.
Image as described above
Modern Carbon Art
A cross-section of an extremely tiny carbon sphere. It was taken with a transmission electron microscope and has color added.
Image as described above
Silicene
An atomic-scale image of a one-atom-thick layer of silicon, which is called silicene. (The graphite version of this is graphene, which has unique properties that have many scientists excited about revolutionary technologies).
Image as described above
Nano Pin
This is a gold-tipped cadmium nanorod, so small that you need an electron microscope to see it. The entire field of vision is just 70 nanometers across (you could stack more than 1000 of these inside the thickness of a single sheet of paper).
Image as described above
Heaven and Earth
Heavenly "solar flares" reach down toward the earth while green blades of "grass" stretch upward, joined by tiny black threads. In actuality, the threads are single-walled carbon nanotubes, while the "sun" and "earth" are made of copper sulfide nanoparticles that coat the carbon tubes. These composite materials have applications in new lithium-ion batteries (the same kind that power your cell phone or laptop).
Image as described above
Sesame Nanowires
Extremely tiny nanowires made out of lithium ion phosphate. Scientists are experimenting with new techniques to make materials for future generations of batteries that will last even longer, be more powerful, and operate more safely. This particular type is one of the most promising cathode materials--electric vehicles with lithium ion phosphate-based batteries have already been commercialized. (This is an image straight from a scanning electron microscope--unaltered in any way).
Image as described above
Blue Planet
This is a particle of lead-free solder. Lead is used in a variety of applications in the everyday world, but since it is extremely toxic, scientists are experimenting with ways to replace it. Here's a fluorescence microscopy image that shows the elemental makeup; the blue parts are tin, the green represents silver, and the red is copper.
Image as described above
Turbulence in a Pack of Spheres (v1)
This simulation shows the turbulent flow in a tightly packed lattice of spheres or pebbles. Such geometries are used in advanced nuclear reactor designs, but have a wide array of applications. The next generation of computer codes is being designed at Argonne to predict the behavior of advanced reactors, reducing the need for expensive experiments while pushing efficiency and safety to new frontiers.
Image as described above
Antsville
A photograph of little mounds and hills created by ants on the ground.
Image as described above
Illuminating the Dark Universe
This is a large simulation of the distribution of matter in the universe, the so-called cosmic web, which evolved under the influence of dark energy. The orange and white structures depict matter concentrations, where galaxies and clusters of galaxies are forming. The simulation was run with 1.1 trillion particles on Mira--the fifth-fastest supercomputer in the world, housed at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility.
Image as described above
For the Love of Two Hearts
This picture was taken on the back walkway of one of the buildings on Argonne's campus. The leaves had fallen and nature took over. Through the sun and the rain, the image of a heart appeared. It may be simple, but nature is the true scientist here.
Image as described above
Cells Choreography
Here's two views of a frog embryo: one imaged by X-ray tomography to see the cells (left); and one where cell and tissue motion is captured by computer-based flow analysis (right).
Image as described above
Growth
These little stalks of grass are really nanowires, made of silica with tiny indium droplets at the tips. They're just several microns tall (the entire image is about the same width as a strand of spider silk). These types of arrays, where the wires are free-standing, have interesting potential for batteries or other future technologies.
Image as described above
Colorful Carbon Snowman
These are actually tiny carbon spheres, so small that scientists need a microscope that takes pictures using electrons (which are smaller than light wavelengths). With color added, it looks a bit like a snowman lit by the night.
Image as described above
Sunrise Earth
The edge of a vanishingly tiny carbon sphere looks like the vast edge of a planet for a moment. (This is a transmission electron microscopic image that has color added.)
Image as described above
Blue Flame, Stained Glass
This isn't actually a stained glass mosaic, but individual grains of strengthened copper. The largest orange blobs are about the size of a fine human hair. The blue tint comes from a combination of ferric nitrate and hydrochloric acid that was allowed to penetrate the metal from the bottom up. As the acid ate through the metal, it etched away the borders between the blobs (black edges) and tinted copper crystallites (blue regions) and left other crystallites (orange and white) untouched. Argonne's Advanced Photon Source - which provides ultra-intense X-ray beams to more than 5,000 scientists from around the world each year - relies on such exotic materials in its experiments.
Image as described above
Whisker Nanowires
Extremely tiny nanowires made out of lithium ion phosphate. Scientists are experimenting with new techniques to make materials for future generations of batteries that will last even longer, be more powerful, and operate more safely. This particular type is one of the most promising cathode materials--electric vehicles with lithium ion phosphate-based batteries have already been commercialized. (This is an image straight from a scanning electron microscope--unaltered in any way).
Image as described above
Hot Carbon Planets
These are extremely tiny carbon spheres that are so small they look a bit like planets. It was taken by a scanning electron microscope (which uses electrons to see much smaller than ordinary microscopes can) and has color added.
Image as described above
Treacherous Seas
The reddish reef in this sea of blue is a group of plutonium nanoparticles, a few nanometers in diameter, which spontaneously formed onto a surface of Muscovite Mica (a very common phyllosilicate mineral). Scientists are studying this to understand how plutonium behaves in contaminated sites. Image taken with an atomic force microscope.
Image as described above
Nectar
An enlarged photo of a flower and a bee.
Image as described above
Seabed, Kelp and Sky
This might look like a view into a shallow-sea kelp forest, but it's actually an important visual quality check of a metallurgical experiment at Argonne. The black "seabed" is phenolic resin filled with chunks of wood flour. The "kelp" are stress cracks in a clear polyester protective film, etched with acid.
Image as described above
Electrospun "Neutrons"
These are extremely tiny nanowires, made by scientists experimenting with methods to create new and different materials to make batteries better. These lithium nanowires are one of the most promising materials for cathodes in lithium-ion batteries--they could make the batteries in your cell phone, laptop, or electric car last longer and produce more power. (This image is straight from a scanning electron microscope, unaltered in any way).
Image as described above
Zen Light
Scientists aimed an extremely powerful X-ray beam at one tiny spot on a futuristic lithium-air battery. When it hit, the photons scattered symmetrically around the beam (highlighted in different colors). Then they can piece together the scattering information to reconstruct how the battery's atoms are arranged. The image was taken at Argonne's extremely powerful synchrotron, the Advanced Photon Source, which accelerates electrons to 99.999% the speed of light and functions like a type of "microscope" (but gives different information than a microscope would).
Image as described above
Element Planet
This "planet" is actually a very tiny droplet of indium (blue) with silicon nano-strands (green) growing around it. Scientists can use a special vapor deposition process to create unique materials, then use an extremely powerful electron microscope to see it and study its behavior. (With color added.).
Image as described above
Carbon Phoenix
This is a cross-section of a carbon sphere, taken using an electron microscope. With color added, scientists saw what looks like a group of burning phoenixes flying above the green forest.
Image as described above
Sea of Amino Acids
An atomic-scale image of a self-assembled molecular layer of cysteine (an amino acid) on a copper surface. The islands are the result of copper atoms being trapped an immobilized by cysteine.
Image as described above
Red-Hot Nano-Silicon for Lithium-Ion Batteries
Scientifically, this is a nanoscale image of a new material scientists are experimenting with to use in lithium-ion batteries (the kind in your cell phone or laptop). The little orange droplets are made of indium, and the strands are silicon. But you could also look at it as glowing embers at the core of a burning campfire, with hot embers rising and falling back into the purple ashes as they cool. (An electron microscope image with color added.)
Image as described above
Turbulence in a Pack of Spheres (v3)
This picture shows a computer simulation of the turbulent flow in a tightly packed lattice of spheres or pebbles. Such geometries are used to help design advanced nuclear reactors, but have other applications too. The next generation of computer codes is being designed at Argonne to predict the behavior of advanced reactors, which reduces the need for expensive experiments while making reactors more efficient and safer.
Image as described above
Graphene Mountains
An atomic-scale simulation of graphene (a single-atom-thick sheet of hexagonal carbon) synthesized on top of a silver crystal. The "mountains" in the background are only one atomic step in height.
Image as described above
"Dominos" in Micro World
The "dominoes" are actually tiny magnesium nanoparticles. Scientists at Argonne use a technique called chemical vapor deposition to create unusual materials to study how nanoparticles form and what makes them behave the way they do. (This is a true-color image taken straight from a scanning electron microscope.)
Image as described above
Lead Titanate Domain Terrain
The tallest "mountains" in the landscape below are actually only a few nanometers high (about how long your fingernails have grown while reading this). It's made out of lead titanate, which has unique properties and is widely used in sensors and actuators. The image, which has color added, was created using atomic force microscopy.
Image as described above
Multiphase Odyssey
This whole "galaxy" is contained on a scientist's lab countertop. It's actually a snapshot of a liquid-liquid dispersion (think oil-water mixture, like a salad dressing) taken at high speed using a powerful short-pulse strobe synced with a high-resolution camera.
Image as described above
Pins and Needles
This is a model of a material called cerium oxide. Using quantum mechanical calculation, it shows how the atoms bonded and where the electrons are distributed. The oxide was "doped" (had impurities of another material intentionally added to see what would happen). Studying new kinds of materials can reveal promise for future technologies, like electronics or manufacturing.
Image as described above
Fire in the Night
While the image looks like flames reaching across a dark void, the structures actually consist of nano-sized particles clinging to extremely thin threads. The particles are comprised of copper sulfide, and the threads are single-walled carbon nanotubes. These composite materials have applications for the next generation of lithium-ion batteries.
Image as described above
Layer Cake
An atomic-scale simulation of a complex oxide "superlattice," made up of many different layers of materials stacked on top of each other like a birthday cake. The nanometer-thick results have unique properties.
Image as described above
Nano Snake
A gold-tipped cadmium nanorod covered with gold nanoparticles - which is just 115 nanometers across. (That's smaller than the diameter of an HIV virus.) Image taken by a scanning transmission electron microscope with color added.
Image as described above
Carbon Hurricane
This cross-section of a tiny carbon sphere revealed a pattern a bit like another phenomenon in nature: the early stages of a hurricane. The image, taken with a transmission electron microscope, has color added.
Image as described above
Reconstructed Solder Faults
This is a computer-generated image of faults or cracks forming in lead-free solder. Since lead is so toxic to humans and the environment, scientists are studying how to improve alternatives, like this solder. This is essentially the same technique as CAT scans.
Image as described above
Pick your top three images and rank them from 1 to 3 ("1" being your favorite) using the drop-down menu to the left of each choice. Only three choices are allowed per voter.

(Don't worry about the order of the rest of the images--we're just looking at top 3).
Zen Light
Colorful Carbon Snowman
Carbon Hurricane
Pins and Needles
Carbon Phoenix
Nano Pin
Cells Choreography
Nectar
Modern Carbon Art
Mystic Indium
Red Hot Nano Silicon for Lithium-Ion Batteries
For the Love of Two Hearts
Indium Balloon on a Nano Silicon String
Electrospun "Neutrons"
Antsville
Treacherous Seas
Seabed, Kelp and Sky
Silicene
Forest of Atoms
Illuminating the Dark Universe
Sesame Nanowires
Copper Shock Waves
Fire in the Night
Graphene Mountains
Growth
Blue Planet
Sunrise Earth
The Small Blue Yonder
Lead Titanate Domain Terrain
Hot Carbon Planets
Nano Snake
Multiphase Odyssey
Whisker Nanowires
Nibbled Nano Apple from Garden of Eden
Blue Flame, Stained Glass
Kaleidoscopic Future Energy
Turbulence in a Pack of Spheres (v3)
Layer Cake
Reconstructed Solder Faults
Sea of Amino Acids
Turbulence in a Pack of Spheres (v1)
"Dominos" in Micro World
Heaven and Earth
Element Planet
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