Microscopic Masterworks: Announcing the Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology (IEN) Characterization Group’s 1st Round of Image Contest Winners

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Cleanrooms may seem like sterile and rational environments. A place where much of the work accomplished is never viewed by the general public, or even scientists in other disciplines.  However, quite a few beautiful, interesting, and inventive creations are being built in the IEN Marcus Nanotechnology labs on a daily basis. The only problem for those interested in checking out the work of our engineers is that they would need eyes able to magnify objects up to 500,000 times their actual size to see them.

The IEN Characterization team opened a visual door to these minuscule works of art last month in their inaugural Monthly Image Contest. From intentionally engineered objects to happy accidents caught on film, here are the winners of the May round –

“Grape cluster"
by Payam Alipour, PI:  Ali Adibi

A nanocluster (particle diameter ~100 nm) of random contamination on a layer of TiO2 deposited on a silicon piece using e-beam evaporation. Image taken with the Zeiss Ultra 60 SEM located in the Marcus Microscopy Suite, level 0 of the Marcus Building.

"Soccer Ball"
by Jamey Gigliotti, PI: Farrokh Ayazi and Z.L. Wang

Photo of a ZnO Nanowire Sphere with a particle diameter of 3.95µm. Image taken with the Hitachi S4700 FE-SEM in the Marcus Inorganic Cleanroom, level 1 of the Marcus Building.

"Blue Paisley"
by Majid Sodagar, PI: Ali Adibi

Top view of bonded SiN/SOI wafers (through thermal glue under pressure) after backside etching of the handle layer. Image taken with the Olympus MX61 located in the Pettit Cleanroom, level 1 of the Pettit Building.

Congratulations to the winners, who will get 5 free hours on the tool of their choice and be entered into a bi-annual Grand Prize selection for cash prizes!  Also, thanks to all those who submitted.

To see a slideshow of all of the entries, please follow this link.

The second round of the Image Contest is underway so, if you have a mini masterpiece, see the contest details below or contact Walter Henderson at or Jie Xu at

 Image Contest Submission Dates
 Open June 1st – June 27th and the 1st –the 27th of each month thereafter.

Contest Rules

  • Images must be taken on an IEN tool
  • Images should not be previously published
  • Photographer must provide details with image such as the tool, sample type, PI etc.
  • Photo-enhancement is allowed
  • Up to 4 entries per user per month
  • Submit images as a .bmp file to



  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Christa Ernst
  • Created:06/03/2014
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016