Cambridge University reveals its top engineering snaps

Oct 26, 2012 No Comments by

They look like paintings in a gallery but in fact these stunning photos show life-saving research in action.

They are all entries in a Cambridge University photography competition, run by the department of engineering.

An image of intricate patterns on a glass slide won the first prize, while another winning shot shows a computer-generated image of a CT scan.

The winning entry in a Cambrisge University photography contest: Dr. Ronan Daly and Dr. Alfonso Castrejon-Pita created this incredible image of drying patterns of AKD on Glass.

Hundreds of entries were submitted to the contest, sponsored by Carl Zeiss, which provide a stunning visual insight into the ways engineering makes a vital contribution to our lives.

‘The panel was looking for images that would hold their own in a gallery such as Tate Modern or Tate Britain,’ said Philip Guildford, director of research at the department of engineering.

‘The competition started as a bit of fun nine years ago but now plays an extremely powerful role in communicating visually the sheer span of engineering and the excitement of working in a rapidly-developing discipline.

‘Behind each image is a fascinating story of dedicated research.’

The photos offer a window into a world of ground-breaking research into a staggering array of fields, from new adhesives and inkjet printing techniques to the development of replacement human tissues.

The engineering subjects captured in the photographs range in size from the tiniest atom-scale through to some of the world’s largest structures.

The photo by winners, Dr Ronan Daly and Dr Alfonso Castrejon-Pita, of the Inkjet Research Centre, shows the drying and cracking of a film formed when an alkyl ketene dimer (AKD) dispersion is deposited and dried on a glass microscope slide.

The work of these researchers explores the new generation of inkjet printing techniques which have potential applications in diagnostic and lab-on-chip technologies that could speed up the process of identifying and treating life-threatening diseases.

Green coal fire by Saravanan Balusamy

Graham Treece won second prize with his computer-generated image taken from a CT scan of the head.

The image represents more than ten years of research into new techniques for measuring variations in the thickness of the surface of the skull and offers a valuable new tool for clinicians looking at injuries such as fractures.

Third prize was won by Pola Goldberg Oppenheimer for her image of adhesive structures that mimic the ability of the gecko’s feet to stick to surfaces repeatedly without losing their stickiness.

Created by Tim Butler, a Nanoscale antenna array radiation pattern simulation.It is a detail from a MATLAB simulation of the radiation pattern from a square array of carbon nanotubes when illuminated from above by a laser

Ching Theng Koh and Daniel created Strange: Electrospun Scaffold – A Fibrous Material with Nanoscale Fibres Special – The Carl Zeiss SEM prize winning photograph

Picture by Pola Goldberg Oppenhiemer: We all fall over sometimes. A colored version of an SEM image of submicron polymer pillars fabricated using lithographic process

A separate monograph prize, for images captured using an electron microscope, was awarded jointly to Ching Theng Koh and Daniel Strange who are developing electro-spinning techniques that will produce networks of fibres with diameters one millionth of a metre or less.

Their image shows the fibrous networks that mimic those found in many natural materials and have potential applications as human tissue replacements.

Competition entries were supposed to relate to research or teaching in the department or field which were also interesting or beautiful in artistic terms.

The winners were given cutting-edge photography equipment.

Created by Pola Goldberg Oppenheimer, this image shows Nanoscale Fractal Branching Patterns

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