Congrats to our Image Contest Winners

A big thank you to everyone who submitted an image in the 2019 Image Competition. We are excited to announce the winners. Please vote for these amazing images in the NNCI Image Contest, There’s Plenty of Beauty at the Bottom. Voting will open on October 7th!

Most Stunning

Gill raker of the Japanese medaka

Melissa Chernick, Duke University

This image shows a portion of a gill raker from a Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes), a small fish often used as a research model. Gill rakers are tooth-like structures inside a fish that help capture prey and prevent damage to its gills. The image shows some of the tissue that makes up the gill raker: a taste bud surrounded by pavement cells.

Most Unique Capability

Nanocoined Structures in Diamond

Nichole Miller, Smart Material Solutions, Inc.

This image shows hierarchical features that were milled into diamond using a focused ion beam. This patented process, “Nanocoining,” can seamlessly nanopattern drum molds for roll-to-roll manufacturing hundreds of times faster than competing technologies. This enables nanopatterning that was previously feasible for only small, academic experiments to be applied on the industrial scale. Nanocoining opens the door for nanostructured surfaces with unique optical and wetting properties to be applied to a variety of commercial products including OLEDs, biosensors, wire-grid polarizers, solar panels, and windows.

Most Whimsical

Dust Flower

Michael Valerino, Duke University

Particulate matter (PM) refers to liquid or solid particles suspended in the atmosphere and comes from dust, combustion by-products, exhaust, fires, and even vegetation. When PM deposits on the surface of solar panels, it can reduce energy production by up to 40% resulting in ~10 to 50 billion dollars of annual losses globally. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of particles on the panel surfaces help us to better understand the sources impacting soiling. This piece of dust reminded our group of a flower, seemingly blooming out of an unearthly field. Even at this tiny scale, we can find familiarity.

A Giant Tool to See the Tiniest Things

The cryo-TEM housed in Duke’s Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility was recently featured in Duke’s Research News. This instrument helps researchers resolve the complex structures of proteins. The cryo-TEM can capture hundreds of thousands of images of these small molecules, and power software is employed to reconstruct the structures in three-dimensions. To learn more, read the full news article.

Scientific Art Competition – Submit your image!

The Chapel Hill Analytical and Nanofabrication Laboratory (CHANL) is hosting its 9th annual Scientific Art Competition! The Scientific Art Competition provides an opportunity to showcase scientific data with artistic appeal. The deadline for submission is March 31, 2017. Submissions should be sent to Dr. Amar Kumbhar ( along with a submission form.  Anyone can submit to the CHANL scientific art competition, and the work does not need to be produced on CHANL equipment.

This year there will be twelve CASH prizes!
1)  Artist’s Choice: 1st Place: $ 50.00, and 3 finalists: $20.00 each
2)  People’s Choice: 1st Place: $ 50.00, and 3 finalists: $20.00 each
3)  Students’ Choice: 1st Place: $ 50.00, and 3 finalists: $20.00 each

Winners will be announced the week of April 23 at a lunch reception and the CHANL MRS seminar.

Please contact with questions or concerns.



Image Contest Winner – Yaewon Park

Congratulations to our image contest winner, Yaewon Park, for her entry, CaCO3 mineralized poly(vinyl alcohol) nanofibers.

This picture shows a Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) image of CaCO3 nanoparticle clusters encrusting electrospun poly(vinyl alcohol) nanofibers. This structure resembles bone structure which consists of collagen fibrils and hydroxyapatate crystals attached along them.

My current research is on surface coating of nanofibers with CaCO3 particles by mimicking bone formation process. My research is expected to give a light on environmentally friendly coating of functional textiles and water filtration materials. Nanofibers were dipped in CaCl2 solution and Na2CO3 solution alternatively for 10 times. This image shows that spherical CaCO3 particles surrounded the circumference of nanofibers. This interesting structure is similar to human bone structure.

Honorable Mention Images:
img-2-coral-reefJoshua Zhou: Coral Reef The viewing window of a scanning electron microscope halts before a field of “coral reef”, ordered clusters of vanadium oxide nanorods. Another rod rests on their surface, like a fish seeking shelter from predators. Characterizing the shape of vanadium oxide nanomaterials can account for changes in their thermochromic properties.

This work aimed to form a titanium oxide-vanadium oxide composite doped with magnesium in order to increase the infrared blocking capability of thermochromic films. Efficient thermochromic films can be used in smart windows to block heat-bearing infrared radiation on hot days, while phase-shifting in cold weather to allow warmth in from sunlight. Phase shifts are temperature dependent and rely on no external supply of electricity. This can help reduce air-conditioning bills while maintaining room comfort.

mn3Yanqi Ye: Smart Melanoma Patch Fluorescence imaging of a representative microneedle patch that contained FITC-aPD1 loaded NPs for melanoma treatment. Despite recent advances in melanoma treatment through the use of anti-PD- 1 (aPD1) immunotherapy, the efficacy of this method remains to be improved. Here we report an innovative self-degradable microneedle (MN) patch for the sustained delivery of aPD1 in a physiologically controllable manner. Moreover, this administration strategy can integrate with other immunomodulators (such as anti-CTLA- 4) to achieve combination therapy for enhancing anti-tumor efficacy.



National Nanotechnology Day

National Nanotechnology Day will be held on October 9, 2016. Several events have been scheduled in celebration. More details regarding these events can be found here.