Rachel Doherty wins LION Image Award with famed Microboat image
The annual LION Image award goes to the 30 micrometer long 3D printed microboat image that went viral earlier in October 2020, submitted by Rachel Doherty of the Daniela Kraft lab.
The award competition garnered six submissions of high quality and diverse styles and subjects (see below). The winner was decided by a trusted jury of research group secretaries, who voted for the very recognisable 'smallest boat on earth', the 30 micrometer long 3D printed toy boat model.
After the online announcement, award winner Rachel Doherty gave a brief talk about the image and the small media storm that it caused in October. The striking Electron Microscope image, it was covered by countless international media, including the BBC, Spanish National Television, NRC Handelsblad, Engadget and even two Arabian shipping websites.
'It's called "3D Benchy", it's a design used to test 3D printers', explained Rachel Doherty, the lab manager and technician who helped making the image and who submitted it. The printer was their lab's new Nanoscribe Photonic Professional, able to print out designs on a scale of micrometers. 'This is not even the smallest boat we printed,'revealed Doherty, 'we also had some measuring about 10 micrometers.'
Boat setting sail
Doherty even showed a video of the boat setting sail. Part of it is covered in a thin layer of platinum, which causes the boat to move in a hydrogen peroxide solution, propelled by a chemical reaction with the platinum.
Doherty's and Kraft's research group researches microswimmers, small particles moving in fluids like water, that can be followed using a microscope. Goals include understanding biological microswimmers, such as bacteria, or desiging micrometer-sized machines or robots. Along with the micro boats, many other shapes, including screw-like spirals, were printed out.
The LION Image award winner receives 100 euros, fame among her peers, and the image will be on display on the institute's image wall, which is sadly rarely seen these days.
THE WINNER: Rachel Doherty - The world's smallest boat
This microboat is 30 micrometres long, about a third of the thickness of a human hair, and can propel itself in solution using a chemical reaction. It was 3D printed and coated with a layer of platinum. The boat uses hydrogen peroxide as fuel, which is broken down by the platinum coating pushing the boat forward. The image was taken with an electron microscope. Submitted by Rachel Doherty
Ali Azadbakht - Trapped Particles
Optical tweezers are real versions of the tractor beam in Star Trek. They employ highly-focused laser beams to trap micrometer sized particles. Arthur Ashkin won the 2018 Nobel Prize for the invention of optical tweezers and their application in biology.
By diffracting the laser beam, we produced many traps simultaneously, and individually controlled them with nanometer resolution. Here, twenty-eight particles are trapped to form the letters LION (Leids Instituut voor Onderzoek in de Natuurkunde). Submitted by Ali Azadbakht
Gal Lemut - Majorana Fermions
Majorana fermions are a special type of quasiparticles which are their own antiparticles. They are formed as a superposition of electrons and holes. This figure shows Majorana fermions formed in a superconductor under the action of a magnetic field.
In such systems, they can form special extended Landau level states. The oscillating pattern in their
wave function amplitude reveals the interference of the electron and hole components. Submitted by Gal Lemut
Peter Neu - Meandering Carbon Nanotubes
Each carbon nanot tube is only 2 nanometers in diameter and about 10 μm long, with a wall consisting of a single atomic layer of graphene. The carbon nanotubes were dispersed in water at a high concentration. When deposited on silicon and left to dry, they bundle together and form meandering abstract shapes.
Towards the top of the picture, we see bundles splitting up, which happens after prolonged exposure to the electron beam of the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). The field of view is 140 μm wide. Submitted by Peter Neu
Gallium Bombarded Rice Paddies - Remko Fermin
This false colored electron microscope image might remind you of terraced rice fields that lie above steep cliffs. The unconventional scale bar, measured in lengths of the Covid-19 virus, reveals that we are dealing with a totally different scale. This image was taken after focused ion beam processing, during which a sample is bombarded with highly energetic Gallium ions, to sculpt it into a microstructure, similar to a jigsaw. 'We needed very high ion currents on this specific sample since the crystal was relatively large, resulting in these randomly formed terraces at the edges (green) and pillars on the side (orange) of the crystal,' says Remko Fermin, who submitted the picture.
Tobias A. de Jong - Atomic Moiré Phases
When combining two atomic lattices with a slight twist, a moiré pattern shows up. This moiré pattern will, quite literally, magnify any shifts between the two atomic lattices. By comparing a Low Energy Electron Microscopy (LEEM) image of the moiré pattern with a reference wave, we can extract the local phase and obtain the local relative shifts of the atomic lattices with a very high precision. Here, this relative phase is shown on top of the moiré pattern of a graphene layer on top of an hexagonal boron nitride layer, curving around a fold in the graphene. Submitted by Tobias A. de Jong