Student work: Maria Ferreira's crystal imaging

For almost a year, Maria Ferreira (GD, FAV '17) has been using Nature Lab microscopy resources to experiment with crystal formation micro-imaging under a polarizing filter. Biological Programs Designer Jennifer Bissonnette and Lab Coordinator for Imaging and Aquatics Benedict Gagliardi worked with Maria to facilitate lab space, teach her how to use the inverted microscope and research different concentration solutions to find out which one would produce the best crystals.

Maria writes: "Watching a crystal grow reveals the astounding way nature configures itself to create the beautiful complexity that surrounds us. I’m perplexed by the patterns and geometry in their structures. The atomic orderliness of crystals is a rather astonishing fact of nature. That’s why the forms in these images appear to be so perfect, as if they were computer generated. Polarized light transforms a seemingly dull crystalline mass into a prismatic landscape. Iridescent waves, geometrical gardens, and spiraling sand dunes reveal textured maps of their microscopic structures—each slide containing a vast wilderness to explore."

We at the Nature Lab are continually amazed at the creative ways in which the students use our resources and enjoy sharing them with you.

Maria Ferreira captured sugar crystals merging under the microscope.

Sugar crystals whirling in a vibrant dance directed by Maria Ferreira.

Ascorbic acid microscopy
Caffeine microscopy
Ascorbic acid microscopy
Sugar crystal microscopy. This image has been used for a small edition of Nature Lab posters, available at the Nature Lab.
Ascorbic acid microscopy
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