HONORABLE MENTION - Christine Laramy: Practice Makes Perfect

Scientific discovery is usually a long process of trial and error. Researcher Christine Laramy has been testing her new method for measuring nanoparticles for several months.

Laramy drops a soapy solution containing microscopic amounts of gold into a small tube and then spins it very fast. As the solution spins, the suspended gold clumps together and these heavier clusters fall to the bottom. The soapy liquid is then skimmed off and the gold nanoparticles are left to dry.

In this image the gold nanoparticles formed into spheres and cubes, but the soapy solution wasn’t completely removed. (You can see it here in purple.) This soapy residue hinders Laramy’s measurements: the computer program she invented requires a plain background to accurately calculate the amount of gold.

After this image was taken Laramy experimented for several more weeks to perfect the separation process, and today her innovative measurement software is being trialed in labs and universities across the country.

Department of Materials Science & Engineering 

Tools & Techniques: Transmission Electron Microscope + colored in Photoshop

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