Honorable Mention - Eric Miller

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Staff, NU’s Atomic and Nanoscale Characterization Experimental Center

“Silica Spheres”

Natural bioadhesives found in marine organisms, such as blue mussels, offer model systems for the design of new synthetic adhesives for medical applications. However, substantial improvements are required before the adhesive is strong enough to repair broken bones in load bearing defects. Research being done at Northwestern aims to improve the mechanical properties of molecular adhesives through the addition of synthetic and marine-derived silica fillers.

Miller took this image of a damaged piece of silica, being used by researchers in the Messersmith Research Group. Ideally, the silica particles should be smooth and round. Using signals from several different detectors, an image is formed whereby color is directly related to the sample's topography.

Technique: Scanning electron microscopy, false coloring