Shortlisted entries 2013

Scientific Research: A Real Bed of Roses

Scientific Research: A Real Bed of RosesScientific Research: A Real Bed of Roses
David J. Lewis

This beautiful scanning electron microscope image at 150, 000 × magnification is from a thin film of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) grown on glass. The material grows in layered sheets and it is the structure it exhibits at the nanoscale that bestows its ability to act as a lubricant in automotive engines on the macroscale; sheets slide over one another, protecting steel components from wear. At the newly-established BP International Centre for Advanced Materials (ICAM) hub at The University of Manchester, we are investigating the behavior of inorganic lubricant materials, aiming to find a fundamental understanding of how they work and attempting to make new lubricants to improve automotive efficiency.  Electron microscopy is a crucial tool used to visualise how physical morphology changes with chemical composition.  The morphology of these films are reminiscent of flowers, proving that sometimes scientific research can literally be a bed of roses!

Next Entry →