Tool: Scanning Electron Microscope

Blue Morpho Butterfly Wing Scales

Blue Morpho Butterfly Wing Scales
The overlapping scales on the wing of the Blue Morpho Butterfly contain nanoscale structures that reflect light to create iridescent colors. This scanning electron microscope image shows Morpho wing scales from above. The Blue Morpho is common in Central and South America and known for its bright blue wings. However, these iridescent colors are created not by pigments in the wing tissues but instead by the way light interacts with nanometer-sized structures on the Morpho's wing scales. This effect is being studied as a model in the development of new fabrics, dye-free paints, and anti-counterfeit technologies for currency.

Minimum credit: 

Shinya Yoshioka, Osaka University

Size: 

Each scale is about 70x200 µm.

Pixels: Width: 

1078

Pixels: Height: 

811

Permissions:

This image was created by another institution, not the NISE Network. This image is available to NISE Network member organizations for non-profit educational use only. Uses may include but are not limited to reproduction and distribution of copies, creation of derivative works, and combination with other assets to create exhibitions, programs, publications, research, and Web sites. Minimum credit required.

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Photonic Crystal

Photonic Crystal
This is a scanning electron microscope image of a photonic crystal. The periodic arrangement of the holes in the material controls the movement of light within the crystal. A photonic crystal's highly ordered and repetitive structure affects the way light moves through it. Similar periodic arrangements are found in nature—for example, in precious opals and in the wings of the Blue Morpho butterfly—and scientists are studying these natural periodic structures to learn more about their properties and potential applications. These crystals have potential uses in computer engineering, lenses and optics, and variable-color paints and inks.

Minimum credit: 

Andrei Faraon, Stanford University

Size: 

Each hole is about 200 nm in diameter.

Pixels: Width: 

645

Pixels: Height: 

516

Permissions:

This image was created by another institution, not the NISE Network. This image is available to NISE Network member organizations for non-profit educational use only. Uses may include but are not limited to reproduction and distribution of copies, creation of derivative works, and combination with other assets to create exhibitions, programs, publications, research, and Web sites. Minimum credit required.

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Glass Nanowire

Glass Nanowire
This is a scanning electron microscope image of a silica nanowire on a silica aerogel surface. New technologies have made it possible to draw glass in long, ultra-smooth wires with uniform diameters in the nanometer range. Because of their extraordinary uniformity, these nanowires have unique properties important in optics and photonics, both of which require precise control of light.

Minimum credit: 

Eric Mazur, Harvard University

Size: 

The nanowire is 530 nm long and the radius of the bent wire is 8 µm.

Pixels: Width: 

1000

Pixels: Height: 

752

Permissions:

This image was created by another institution, not the NISE Network. This image is available to NISE Network member organizations for non-profit educational use only. Uses may include but are not limited to reproduction and distribution of copies, creation of derivative works, and combination with other assets to create exhibitions, programs, publications, research, and Web sites. Minimum credit required.

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Blue Morpho Butterfly Wing Microribs

Blue Morpho Butterfly Wing Microribs
The tree-like structures in this scanning electron microscope image of a cross section of a butterfly wing are on the undersides of the Morpho's wing scale ridges. These microribs reflect light to create iridescent colors. The Blue Morpho is common in Central and South America and known for its bright blue wings. However, these iridescent colors are created not by pigments in the wing tissues but instead by the way light interacts with nanometer-sized structures on the Morpho's wing scales. This effect is being studied as a model in the development of new fabrics, dye-free paints, and anti-counterfeit technologies for currency.

Minimum credit: 

Shinya Yoshioka, Osaka University

Size: 

The microribs on the wing scale ridges are each about 400 nm long.

Pixels: Width: 

750

Pixels: Height: 

465

Permissions:

This image was created by another institution, not the NISE Network. This image is available to NISE Network member organizations for non-profit educational use only. Uses may include but are not limited to reproduction and distribution of copies, creation of derivative works, and combination with other assets to create exhibitions, programs, publications, research, and Web sites. Minimum credit required.

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Pollen Grains

Pollen Grains
This scanning electron microscope image shows pollen particles from a variety of common plants: sunflower, morning glory, hollyhock, lily, primrose, and castor bean.

Minimum credit: 

Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility

Size: 

The smallest pollen grains are about 6-8 µm in diameter.

Pixels: Width: 

788

Pixels: Height: 

600

Permissions:

This image was created by another institution, not the NISE Network. This image is available to NISE Network member organizations for non-profit educational use only. Uses may include but are not limited to reproduction and distribution of copies, creation of derivative works, and combination with other assets to create exhibitions, programs, publications, research, and Web sites. Minimum credit required.

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Nickel Nanowires

Nickel Nanowires
The orientation of the nickel nanowires shown in this scanning electron microscope can be changed by altering the direction of an applied magnetic field. Nanowires are a key focus of nanotechnology research due to their potential uses in nanoscale electronic, magnetic, optical, and mechanical devices. Nickel nanowires in particular may play an important role in increasing the memory capacity of computer hard disc drives.

Minimum credit: 

Wendy Crone, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Size: 

The nanowires are 100-200 nm in diameter and about 20 µm in length.

Pixels: Width: 

588

Pixels: Height: 

389

Permissions:

This image was created by another institution, not the NISE Network. This image is available to NISE Network member organizations for non-profit educational use only. Uses may include but are not limited to reproduction and distribution of copies, creation of derivative works, and combination with other assets to create exhibitions, programs, publications, research, and Web sites. Minimum credit required.

Return to gallery