Programs & Outreach

Science as Art

  MRS Foundation LogoAs a special feature of MRS meetings, we offer the popular Science as Art competitions with entry open to all registered meeting attendees. 

Visualization methods provide an important tool in materials science for the analysis and presentation of scientific work. Images can often convey information in a way that tables of data or equations cannot match. Occasionally, scientific images transcend their role as a medium for transmitting information and contain the aesthetic qualities that transform them into objects of beauty and art.

The galleries below represent some of the best entries from past meetings.

Copyright for these images belongs to the Materials Research Society. To request permission to reuse the images, please contact us here »

In addition, we invite you to view this video featuring some of the best entries from past MRS Science as Art competitions:

Science as Art Winners

2019 MRS Spring Meeting

 

 

 

This Nano-duck is a Cr2TiAlC2 MAX particle. The size of the duck is ~3 µm. The rocks where it's sitting on are also MAX particles covered with
Inspired by
Manhattan skyline at twilight. Optical microscope and microfluidic device are commonly used in particle tracing visualization. By this method, we can directly observe the electroconvection at liquid-metal interface during Tin electrodeposition in low concentration aqueous electrolyte under a low constant current density at room temperature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nanoduck

Kanit Hantanasirisakul, Drexel University

This Nano-duck is a Cr2TiAlC2 MAX particle. The size of the duck is ~3 µm. The rocks where it's sitting on are also MAX particles covered with "nano-moss".

Erupting Volcano on the Ocean

Kaiyang Yin, Dartmouth University

Inspired by "The Great Wave off Kanagawa," the iconic print by Hokusai, the active volcano on the ocean is erupting. The image is created by cryo-SEM imaging of textured ice surface. Deposition of water vapor into ice was observed in situ at the ice tip and formed the lava.  

Manhattan Skyline at Twilight

Duhan Zhang, Cornell University

Manhattan skyline at twilight. Optical microscope and microfluidic device are commonly used in particle tracing visualization. By this method, we can directly observe the electroconvection at liquid-metal interface during Tin electrodeposition in low concentration aqueous electrolyte under a low constant current density at room temperature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The art work is based on a scanning electron microscope image. The sample is a gold nanostructure. By the overgrowth of the Au nanoplate, we obtained a peony-like Au nanostructure. Peony is a famous flower of China. So I named this work Gold Peony.
Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) image of an oxidized two-dimensional (2D) V2CTx MXene particle showing similarities to the imaginary Yoda character in the Star Wars Movie series.
s19-saa-flower

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gold Peony

Han Zhang, Chinese University of Hong Kong

The art work is based on a scanning electron microscope image. The sample is a gold nanostructure. By the overgrowth of the Au nanoplate, we obtained a peony-like Au nanostructure.

Yoda

Armin VahidMohammadi, Auburn University

SEM image of an oxidized two-dimensional V2CTx MXene particle showing similarities to the imaginary Yoda character in the Star Wars Movie series. V2CTx is synthesized by selective etching of Al atoms from V2AlC MAX phase and is a promising electrode material for energy storage devices such as supercapacitors and batteries. The SEM image was taken using a JEOL JSM-7000F Scanning Electron Microscope, and fake colors were added using computer software without manipulation of the original image (only eyes and ears are added to the image to help with showing the resemblances).

EGaIn Flower

Minyung Song, North Carolina State University

A drop of the liquid metal, eutectic gallium indium (EGaIn) in a strong base electrolyte normally forms a sphere because of its inherently high surface tension. Applying a small, positive electric potential to EGaIn (via the red wire) causes surface oxidation in solution and effectively lowers its interfacial tension. EGaIn then spreads into this flower-like shape to increase its surface area.

 

 

 

2018 MRS Fall Meeting

 

 

 

Coral reeds are the cities of the underworld.  Through their intricate network of coral structures, they provide shelter to thousands of various marine species.  You are seeing the SEM image of a transition metal carbide (MXene) fiber showing similar features (at the micro-scale) to that of a coral reef.  It's always fascinating to see the laws of nature for structural growth translating from micro to macro.
Who Lives In Your Nanotubes is an image acquired by field-emission scanning electron microscopy of high purity carbon nanotubes.  The presence of
SEM image of a two-dimensional V2CTx MXene particle showing similarities to the head of an imaginary giant turtle under the sea. V2CTx is synthesized by selective etching of Al atoms from V2AlC MAX phase and is a promising electrode material for energy storage devices such as supercapacitors and batteries. The image was taken using a JEOL JSM-7000F Scanning Electron Microscope, and fake colors were added using computer software without manipulation of the original image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mxene Coral

Simge Uzun, Drexel University

Coral reeds are the cities of the underworld.  Through their intricate network of coral structures, they provide shelter to thousands of various marine species.  You are seeing the SEM image of a transition metal carbide (MXene) fiber showing similar features (at the micro-scale) to that of a coral reef.  It's always fascinating to see the laws of nature for structural growth translating from micro to macro.

 

Who Lives In Your Nanotubes

Brian Landi, Rochester Institute of Technology

Who Lives In Your Nanotubes is an image acquired by field-emission scanning electron microscopy of high purity carbon nanotubes.  The presence of "alien" silhouettes are visible to the viewer.

 

MXene Turtle Under the Sea

Armind VahidMohammadi and Majid Beidaghi, Auburn University

SEM image of a two-dimensional V2CTx MXene particle showing similarities to the head of an imaginary giant turtle under the sea. V2CTx is synthesized by selective etching of Al atoms from V2AlC MAX phase and is a promising electrode material for energy storage devices such as supercapacitors and batteries. The image was taken using a JEOL JSM-7000F Scanning Electron Microscope, and fake colors were added using computer software without manipulation of the original image. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The diversity of zinc-tin-oxide (ZTO) nanostructures achieved in a simple low-temperature hydrothermal synthesis: cubic inverse spinel structures in the form of nanoparticles, nano-octahedrons, or nanocubes and perovskite-structured nanowires growing in a bouquet-like form.
This is a creatively colored SEM image of a Monarch Butterfly's wing segment.
Soft microrobots captured and sterilized by the attack of immune cells, looking like various Monster characters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ZTO Bouquet

Ana Rovisco, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

The diversity of zinc-tin-oxide (ZTO) nanostructures achieved in a simple low-temperature hydrothermal synthesis: cubic inverse spinel structures in the form of nanoparticles, nano-octahedrons, or nanocubes and perovskite-structured nanowires growing in a bouquet-like form.

Monarch Butterfly Wing

Yiheng Chen, The Haverford School

This is a creatively colored SEM image of a Monarch Butterfly's wing segment.

Monster Bots

Hakan Ceylan, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems

Soft microrobots captured and sterilized by the attack of immune cells, looking like various Monster characters.

 

 

 

 

2018 MRS Spring Meeting

 

 

 

Polyethylenimine and PEDOT:PSS mixed scaffold obtained after freeze-drying process.
This is a transmission electron microscopy image of titania nanofibers synthesized using a solution phase reaction.
Photo-catalytic Cu(x)W(y)S2 by Chemical Vapor Deposition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Is Growing Everywhere

Magali Ferro, École des Mines de Saint Étienne

Polyethylenimine and PEDOT:PSS mixed scaffold obtained after freeze-drying process.

Titania Nanofibers

Yadong Yin, University of California, Riverside

This is a transmission electron microscopy image of titania nanofibers synthesized using a solution phase reaction. Other than colorizing the flowers and adding text, the image has not been edited.

Nanosucculents

Peter Sherrell, Imperial College London

Photo-catalytic Cu(x)W(y)S2 by Chemical Vapor Deposition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dendritic antimony selenide micro-trees as seen through an optical microscope.
The growth of zinc carbonate crystals from zinc oxide.
The deep-sea fish is a SEM image of a MXene/gelatin composite. The fish represents a blend of two materials from different worlds, namely, two-dimensional inorganic ceramic (MXene) and a natural polymer (gelatin).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dendrite

Jonathan Major, University of Liverpool

Dendritic antimony selenide micro-trees as seen through an optical microscope.

Carbonate Crystals

Xin Zhang, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

The growth of zinc carbonate crystals from zinc oxide.

Deep Sea Fish

Kanit Hantanasirisakul, Drexel University

The deep-sea fish is a SEM image of a MXene/gelatin composite. The fish represents a blend of two materials from different worlds, namely, two-dimensional inorganic ceramic (MXene) and a natural polymer (gelatin).

 

 

 

2017 MRS Fall Meeting

 

 

 

Thin films of crystalline V2O3 consisting of nanosheets with a flower-like morphology.
This SEM image shows crystals of the two-dimensional material molybdenum disulfide (MoS2). Here, we see many of these triangular crystals have merged together to create a stunning scene of MoS2 stars.
Zinc Oxide nanoflowers by chemical vapor deposition

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Grandma's Knitting Box

Isabel Gessner, University of Cologne

Thin films of crystalline V2O3 consisting of nanosheets with a flower-like morphology.

Two-Dimensional Crystals

Jennifer DiStefano, Northwestern University

This SEM image shows crystals of the two-dimensional material molybdenum disulfide (MoS2). Here, we see many of these triangular crystals have merged together to create a stunning scene of MoS2 stars.

Nanoflowers

Shashank Gahlaut, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi

Zinc Oxide nanoflowers by chemical vapor deposition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEM image of a big nanoparticle, sunken into an amorphous inverse opal.
Copper chalcogenide nanostructure is a promising material for sensors, catalysis, and solar energy conversion. When we can control their assembled structure, the range of application can be explored.
A thermoelectric bismuth telluride micro-film fabricated by electrochemical deposition, which can transform heat into electricity, mimics the shape of a sunflower, which collects sun power and transforms it into biomass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welt

Bernd Kopera, University of Bayreuth

SEM image of a big nanoparticle, sunken into an amorphous inverse opal.

Nano-blossoms

Jihyeon Yeom, University of Michigan

Copper chalcogenide nanostructure is a promising material for sensors, catalysis, and solar energy conversion. When we can control their assembled structure, the range of application can be explored. 

Girasol

Olga Caballero-Calero, CSIC, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

A thermoelectric bismuth telluride micro-film fabricated by electrochemical deposition, which can transform heat into electricity, mimics the shape of a sunflower, which collects sun power and transforms it into biomass.