Winners of Second Image Contest Announced

Congratulations to the winners of our second user image contest! The contest was judged by (MC)2 staff. 

1st PlacePrashant Kumar, “Glowing Dendrites” (Image acquired from the FEI Helios 650 Nanolab SEM/FIB)

“Excess amounts of L-cysteine precipitates in a typical dendritic pattern, while clusters of cadmium line the edges of these dendrites giving it a glowing appearance. The precipitation occurs when the solution is supersaturated with L-cysteine. The image was taken using FEI Helios SEM at 1 kV and 100 pA of beam current to minimize the charging effect. The image is false colored using photoshop to enhance the dendritic pattern.”


Eric Kazyak, “Snow in the Forest” (Acquired from the FEI Nova SEM/FIB)

“This SEM image shows the branched nanostructures that make up the scales of a Morpho butterfly wing. The regular spacing interacts with visible light, giving the butterfly its famous iridescent blue coloration. The “snow” layer is a thin zinc oxide layer deposited by Atomic Layer Deposition to impart photocatalytic activity and tune the structural coloration across the visible spectrum. The branches are 50-100 nm wide, and the ZnO layer is 35 nm. I placed snowflakes in the background to reinforce the appearance.”

Naomi Ramesar, “Pyrite Reef” (Acquired from the FEI Nova SEM/FIB)



“Spherical FeSx supraparticles (SPs) are assembled from fiber-like assemblies. This intermediate-stage SEM image shows the existence of both stable SPs and fiber intermediates. To replicate the coral reefs of Trinidad and Tobago where I grew up, false color was used.”



Thomas Maulbeck, “Rutile Heartstrings” (Acquired from the FEI Helios 650 Nanolab SEM/FIB)

“These are rutile TiO2 crystals growing on the top surface of Ti-20 at.% Nb oxidized for 1h at 900C. The image was colorized, cropped and colormapped with “Reds” in Python to make the heart shaped centerpiece pinkish-red.”



(MC)2 Image Contest Reopens

(MC)2 is excited to begin our second image contest and is accepting submissions until Friday, April 19. Winning images will be framed and displayed in the center. A number of entries will also be featured in a new ongoing photo collage in the hallway outside the (MC)2 office.

User Photo Collage

Additionally, the first-place winner will receive a $50 gift card to a local restaurant of their selection, and runners-up $25 gift cards.

The contest remains open to all graduate students and post-docs at U-M or other universities. Images must be obtained using an instrument at the center and may be modified artistically if you choose.

To enter, click here.

Please upload the highest quality image with regard to file size, bit depth, and resolution. Preferred image width is 1024 px or above. Image should be in .tif format. You are welcome to submit multiple entries if you would like.

All entries should include the following:

  • A title for the image
  • A clear and detailed legend
  • A short paragraph describing the scientific context
  • Explanation of any artistic modification of the image (if relevant)

Participants grant the center permission to use submitted images in any form in the future, including editing or publishing them on our website, twitter, or other media.

Image Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the first (MC)2 image contest!


1st PlaceWonjin Choi, “Dandelion Pollen Grain” (Image acquired from the Tescan MIRA3 SEM)

“This image is an SEM image of a dandelion pollen grain, a reproductive micro structure produced by the male part of a plant. Spiky surfaces can help them to cling to the carrier and transport the grains. The diameter of pollen is about 20 microns. False colors are used to create a mysterious atmosphere.”


Suk Hyun Sung, “Sub-angstrom resolution, picometer precision characterization of charge density wave material system 1T-TaSSe” (Image acquired from the JEOL 3100R05 TEM)
“Layered material 1T-TaSxSe1-x exhibits extraordinary phase transition (including metal-insulator transition, and super-conductivity) thanks to charge density wave and associated periodic lattice distortion. To characterize the phenomena, sub-Angstrom and picometer precision is essential. Here, the HAADF-STEM image taken on JEOL 3100 R05 demonstrates 80 pm resolution with sub 10 pm precision. The ‘Z’-contrast highlights heavy Tantalum atomic columns as well as Selenium rich columns. The image was averaged over 25 cross-correlated images.”
Jiao Yan and Zhengzhi Mu, “Helical Candies – Trick or Treat” (Image acquired from the Nova SEM/FIB)
“Our group has been working on the fabrication of chiral materials for decades, and the helix is the most intuitive chiral structure. However, helical structures are not that easy to obtain considering its complexity. In this work, very uniform and clean helices with homochirality (right-handed) were fabricated. The helices look very much like candies, and they were taken around Halloween, so we colored all the helices in the image with different colors.”
Huai-Hsun Lien, “The butterfly ‘D’ effect” (Image acquired from the JEOL 2010F TEM)
“This image is taken in Al-20 wt.% Si sample that is laser treated, the high cooling rate results in ultrafine Si grains as shown in the image. Each of the ‘butterfly’ wings spans 50 nm in width and 100 nm in length, which is unattainable in conventional casting techniques. The significance of the defects will manifest themselves in mechanical response. False colors are used and some blurring of the image to highlight the ‘butterfly’ structure.”

Center Accepting Submissions for Image Contest

(MC)2 is starting an image submission contest to share a glimpse into the diverse research of academic users at the center. The contest is open to (MC)2 users who are graduate students and post-docs at the University of Michigan or other universities. The winner will receive a $50 gift card to a local restaurant.

Submissions for the first contest will be accepted until November 5, 2018; results will be announced shortly after this date. All entries will be considered rolling submissions and remain in contention for future contests, however, so may still be selected for a prize at a later date. 

Entrants allow the center permission to publish any images on our website, twitter, or other media.

Please upload the highest quality image with regard to file size, bit depth, and resolution. Preferred image width is 1024 px or above. Image should be in .tif format.

Images must be obtained using instruments at the center, but may be modified aesthetically if you choose. You can enter the contest here:

All entries should include the following:

  • A title for the image
  • A clear and detailed legend
  • A description of the image providing scientific context (one paragraph)
  • Details on any artistic modification of the image, if relevant

(MC)2 Supports Microanalysis Society’s Topical Conference on EBSD

(MC)2 was excited to host a Microanalysis Society topical conference on Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) this May 23–25, bringing together over 170 participants internationally, including students, researchers, and vendors. The conference featured three days of lectures and animated conversation on EBSD applications and developments within materials science, geoscience, planetary science, engineering, and industry. The dynamic conference format combined interactive live demonstrations from vendors using (MC)2 equipment to showcase the latest EBSD hardware and software with poster and plenary sessions held in NCRC’s Football Room.

Luke Brewer (U. Alabama) Presents on Metallurgical Sample Preparation

Along with talks on EBSD technology, Day 1 provided lab demonstrations on a flexible sign-up basis. Students and others seeking even more hands-on insights on EBSD methods were treated to tutorials in geoscience and engineering materials within the (MC)2 laboratory space.

The theme of Day 2 was “EBSD for Characterization of Microstructure Evolution” and also featured a poster session with over forty participants. Day 3 emphasized advances in EBSD technology and data analysis, such as Bayesian approaches on how to most effectively use data mining approaches to assist in analyzing materials.

Engineering Materials Demo

Represented vendors throughout the duration of the conference included Bruker, EDAX, Oxford Instruments, TESCAN, Thermo Scientific, ZEISS Microscopy, JEOL, Hitachi, Gatan, E.A. Fischione, EXpressLO LLC, Leica Microsystems, Mager Scientific, Cambridge Press, Buelher, BLG Vantage, NanoMEGAS, and Bluequartz.

Financial support for student travel was made possible through a National Science Foundation Award #1829336.


Q & A with Ralf Hielscher Following “A Poor Man’s Approach to HR-EBSD”
Vendor Demonstration by EDAX