CRANN wins SFI Research Image of the Year 2011

22 Nov 2011

'The Hive', winner of SFI's Research Image of the Year for 2011

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has named an image taken in CRANN of a porous surface of the polymer polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) the Research Image of the Year for 2011.

Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock, TD, announced the ‘The Hive’, taken by Dr David McGovern, as the winning image at the recent SFI Science Summit in Athlone, attended by 300 researchers.

The SFI Research Image competition offers SFI-funded researchers the opportunity to submit digital images created during the course of their research.

McGovern captured the image under supervision by Prof John Boland, CRANN’s director and principal investigator from TCD’s School of Chemistry.  

Porous polymers have the potential to deliver new biocompatible nanodevices or nanotemplates for medical applications and are of significance not only in the biomedical industry but also for materials science.

CRANN’s research on porous polymers, during which the image was taken, has the potential to enable a variety of applications, including therapeutic devices such as in implants, sutures, prosthetic devices and for drug delivery and wound care.

The image was produced using the Zeiss Auriga Focused Ion Beam (FIB) in CRANN’s Advanced Microscopy Laboratory (AML). The Auriga FIB is the only system in Europe and has the narrowest beam width of any such instrument on the market, enabling image resolution of less than 3 nanometres, about 30,000 times smaller than the width of one human hair.

Speaking at the SFI conference, Boland said, “During the course of our research in CRANN, we come across numerous images that have the potential to illuminate nanoscience to non-scientific audiences and help to demonstrate its everyday application in an visually appealing manner.”

Boland also congratulated McGovern on his award.

“Winning this award will allow CRANN to continue to deliver the message of the relevance of nanoscience to everyday audiences, and will affirm its position as an accessible, understandable and above all, compelling subject,” Boland added.

“This win is also important in highlighting the quality of CRANN’s research infrastructure on the national and international stage, which has enriched the quality of our nanoscience research, as well as allowing us to continue to attract and work with multinational companies like Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Merck Millipore, among others.”

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