First Place - Andrew Koltonow

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Graduate Student, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Nanotechnology is the study of objects or things that are really, really small. Because of their size, nanoparticles can be arranged in unique ways to create new materials. Koltonow and his colleagues study a material called graphene oxide (GO), which is only a couple of atoms thick. They can assemble thin sheets of GO into a foam that conducts electricity. The foam can be used to create electrodes for batteries, making such energy storage devices smaller and lighter.

In this image, graphene oxide sheets (purple-orange) cast shadows from light that is scattered off of GO foam (green-yellow), creating an eerie effect.