They might look like a gallery of alien creatures, but these stunning pictures actually show ancient cells that have been magnified up to a million times.
The incredible images were taken using an electron microscope, and colored to create a mesmerizing catalogue of weird and wonderful life.
They feature diatoms, single cells just 0.002-inches-long which are thought to pre-date the dinosaurs.
Memorizing: The ancient cells were magnified up to a million times using an electron microscope before being colored to create stunning patterns of natural life.
Pucker up: This image of an elongated and curved cell appears to resemble a luscious pair of rich pink and red lips, or even a neon sign, it is that bright.
Oceanographer Dr Paul Hargreaves teamed up with artist Faye Darling to create the stunning works of art.
A particle beam of electrons is used to illuminate the tiny organism before a 3D picture is taken. The image is then ‘colorized’ by Mrs. Darling using a variety of digital paint programmes.
What started as a hobby has become a part-time occupation for the grandmother of two from Rhode Island, U.S.
‘It may take me as little as three to four hours to complete one image, but I have worked as long as 25-30 hours on one image,’ she said.
Two peas in a pod: Many of the tiny cells are just 0.002-inches-long and are thought to pre-date the dinosaurs.
Zap: A particle beam of electrons is used to illuminate the tiny organism before a 3D picture is taken. The cells are then colored to produce the impressive effect.
Kaleidoscope: This selection of seven different cells has been colored shades of blue, purple and turquoise to create an attractive group of molecules.
‘What inspires me is being able to turn rather unusual black and white images and transform them into sparking little gems that make people take notice of them.
‘It also makes me happy to know the Dr. Hargraves uses some of the images to accompany his lectures especially to new students who are just beginning to have an interest in world oceanography and marine biology.
‘I hope that people all over the world will be interested in the shapes, and then will be curious enough to find out what they are, and how they function.’