First Place - Radha Boya

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

“Nanoscale Lego Puzzle”

Molecular printing allows for the direct transfer of molecules to a substrate (surface material) on a nano scale. In order to do this, scientists like Boya make tips from metals like gold, a process shown in this image.

Here, a thin film of gold has been deposited on a silicon mold. Each evenly spaced black dot is a groove in the silicon that has been filled by the gold. The puzzle-like shapes are made when the gold cracks and curls up. The darker shading indicates where the gold has curled in on itself. The metal tips fabricated by this method can be used in many applications, such as printing DNA chips.

Technique: Optical microscopy, false coloring