Hans U. Danzebrink
Aesthetic Imperfections, 2008

Atomic force photomicrograph; magnification approximately x350,000 at capture; sample approximately 1.5 m x 2.5 m in size; post-capture colorization.

Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Braunschweig, Germany

This image reveals dislocations in a photonic crystal arrangement of polystyrene nanospheres magnified from a sample size of about 1.5 m 2.5 m. In this case, the photonic crystals were grown as self-assembled structures from a colloidal solution. The nanospheres measure about 200 nm in diameter and are about 300 times smaller than a human hair, but still approximately 500 times larger than atoms. Practically, photonic crystals can be used to control and manipulate the flow of light, e.g. in optical waveguides. Even in nature, this type of nanosphere arrangement can be found. A classic example of this is observed in the gemstone opal with its iridescent play of light colors. Thorsten Dziomba of PTB provided the image data, and Dr. Frank Marlow of Max-Planck-Institut fr Kohlenforschung supplied the sample. WSxM software was used to carry out the post-capture colorization.

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