In December 2021 we issued a call for visually-appealing scientific images that were taken in the KNI Lab. We received several fantastic submissions from our lab users that captured both expected and unexpected beauty of their research.
The first place prize was awarded to Dr. Ceth Parker for his piece entitled, "One Small EPS for Bacteria, One Giant Biofilm for Bacterial-Kind". Ceth submitted a colorized scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of uncoated space suit material (blue) dotted with microorganisms (red) that formed a biofilm (gold) on the suit's surface. A major component of biofilms is their extracellular polymeric substances (EPS).
Ceth is a member of JPL's Biotechnology and Planetary Protection group, which is charged with preventing microbial contamination of other solar system bodies. By researching various methods and chemistries for coating surfaces, the group aims to limit the growth or presence of baterial and fungal biofilms on space hardware, thereby limiting harmful contamination on space missions. This research was carried out by Dr. Ceth Parker and overseen by his mentor Dr. Kasthuri Venkateswaran.
Steven Wood (Painter group) and Ryoto Sekine and Selina Zhou (Marandi group) were the runners up of the "Art as Science" contest.
Steven's entry captured the fine details of a quantum transducer device which he fabricated in the KNI Lab. Eight layers of electron beam lithography were required to achieve the elements in its sophisticated design.
Ryoto and Selina's vibrant images provided stunning glimpses of their work on lithium niobite electro-optic modulators and waveguides, which are being developed for system-level optical computation, sensing and quantum information processing.
The four winners received gift cards and their images will be printed and displayed in the KNI Laboratory. Congratulations!
"One Small EPS for Bacteria, One Giant Biofilm for Bacterial-Kind"
Ceth Parker (JPL)
Description: This research advances JPL's Biotechnology and Planetary Protection group's goal of limiting harmful contamination on current and future space missions. Above is a colorized composite SEM of an uncoated space suit material (blue) with microorganisms (red) that have formed a biofilm (gold) (a major component of biofilms is their extracellular polymeric substances [EPS]) on the space suits surface. The composite SEM images were taken as part of a lab-based experiment designed to test a novel antimicrobial coating, and image above illustrates the importance of preventing microbial biofilm formation on all synthetic robotic and crewed surfaces (the antimicrobial coated samples are not included). This research was carried out by Dr. Ceth Parker and overseen by his mentor Dr. Kasthuri Venkateswaran. SEM micrographs were collected on the Quanta 200F under High Vacuum. This photo is Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.
"Quantum Transducer Device"
Steven Wood (Caltech)
Description: Quantum transducer device fabricated using eight layers of electron beam lithography and five different material platforms. Image was taken with the Zeiss Orion helium ion microscope. (Steven Wood, Painter Lab, Kavli Nanoscience Institute, Caltech)
"Beating the von Neumann Bottleneck with Photonic Computers"
Ryoto Sekine and Selina Zhou
Description: Testing dispersion engineered thin-film lithium niobite electro-optic modulators. Tools used: EBPG5200, III-V Etcher, CHA, Lesker, PECVD, Wirebonder. (Ryoto Sekine and Selina Zhou, Marandi Lab, Kavli Nanoscience Institute, Caltech)
"Intense Optical Parametric Amplification"
Ryoto Sekine and Selina Zhou
Coupling fs mid-IR pulses into thin-film lithium niobite resonators. The observed green light is the second generated on-chip. Tools used: EBPG5200, III-V Etcher, CHA, Lesker. (Ryoto Sekine and Selina Zhou, Marandi Lab, Kavli Nanoscience Institute, Caltech)