Annual Image Contest Selections

Congratulations to the winners of our latest image contest, and thanks to everyone who participated. We plan to hold the contest annually in the future with the next iteration to be announced in Spring 2022. 

1st Place

Max Powers, “Picking Out an Engagement Ring”
Acquired on Thermo Fisher Nova 200 Nanolab SEM/FIB


The image is of a grain-agglomerate protruding out of the surface of a Cu film. The protrusion is a mechanism to alleviate the high amount of internal stress in the film generated during physical vapor deposition. The facets of the agglomerate are different Cu grains oriented in a variety of directions and resemble the facets cut onto high-end jewelry stones. Thus I chose the title “Picking Out an Engagement Ring” because the protrusion looks like a diamond sitting on a sheet of velvet that someone would see in a jewelry store.


Thomas Valenza, “Oxidized Ti-Si Alloy (Cross Section)”
Acquired on Thermo Fisher Talos F200X G2 S/TEM



This is TEM lamella of a Ti-0.8 at.% Si sample oxidized in N2-O2 (800 C, 8 h).

From top to bottom, there is TiO2 oxide (large, light grains), a nitrogen-rich layer (dark, striated band), and the metal.





Alexandra Moy, “LLZO-Al Microstructure – Pore Drag and Teddy Bears”
Acquired on TESCAN MIRA3 SEM

This micrograph is an electron backscatter diffraction image of an aluminum-doped lithium lanthanum zirconium oxide (LLZO) sample. In the image, it can be seen that there is apparent abnormal grain growth, both in the bottom left blue grain and the top right purple and blue grains that look like a teddy bear. LLZO is a promising candidate to replace the liquid electrolyte in batteries and enable the higher energy density batteries necessary for future vehicle electrification. The use of EBSD allows us to further understand and link changes in ceramic processing to microstructure and electrochemical properties of LLZO.


Metin Kayitmazbatir, “Death Star Emerges in Nano Scale”
Acquired on TESCAN MIRA3 SEM


Aluminum-Silicon alloys are laser remelted to enhance their mechanical properties. Phases become so small that it goes to the dark side and only SEM or TEM can characterize it. This one shows a perfect crater, which is thought to be stemming from etchant.