scanning electron

Produced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), under a magnification of 25,000X, this digitally-colorized scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image depicts numerous filamentous Ebola virus particles (blue) budding from a chronically-infected VERO E6 cell (yellow-green).

Ebola is one of numerous Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers. It is a severe, often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (such as monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees).

Ebola is caused by infection with a virus of the family Filoviridae, genus Ebolavirus. When infection occurs, symptoms usually begin abruptly. The first Ebolavirus species was discovered in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Ebola River. Since then, outbreaks have appeared sporadically. See the Flickr link for additional SEM NIAID Ebola virus imagery.

This image shows a collection of diatoms at a magnification of 200. Diatoms are aquatic, photosynthetic protists and are one of the simplest forms of phytoplankton. They are abundant in nearly every habitat where water is found – oceans, lakes, streams, mosses, soils and even the bark of trees. Nearly all diatoms are microscopic; cells range in size from about 2 microns to about 500 microns (0.5 mm), or about the width of a human hair.

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This is Viktor. He is a smol boy. He is made out of a small shard of plastic found in an LED that i cut in half with plyers to see how the inside of an LED looks. The Black and White Images were taken on a Scanning Electron Microscope by me, and I took them earlier today and I discovered Viktor so I took pictures of him. He is very cute and I love him. Just for clarity on size he is very small, comparing his length so his longest side is approximately 2.5 micrometers and to put that in proportion the thickness of a human hair is about 20 micrometers so seven Viktors could lay end to end along the thickness of one human hair. Or 14,000 Viktors could dance on the head of a common pin (with room to spare to groove).

Here is a hand(Paint) drawn picture of Viktor incase anyone was confused where on the image I was referring.

This is a picture of the planchet that Viktor’s LED home is on. The big section of where he is is marked by the red circle.

This is a very low Magnification image of Viktor’s Neighborhood, to scale it to our size this would be showing a 3 mile radius around where you live. The circle again marks where the next image will be zooming in on.

This is a closer magnification of where Viktor Lives. and this is where if you look very very closely one can see Viktor as a tiny speck for the first time.

(There was an error in labeling, this is actually 15000 Magnification my apologies)

Viktor can be truly seen for the first time here surely this is an extraordinary picture.  He is in the very center of the circle.

Here is a better closeup of Viktor. The resolution from here on is pretty poor and I apologize but the Scanning Electron Microscope that I use is an old Hatachi from the late 80s and it cannot get better resolution then this.

Here is a close up of Viktor’s head notice the beauty of his eye and the horn on the top of his head.

This is the highest magnification where the image is still at all visible. This image is however very zoomed in do not misconstrue. At this mag if this image was 8k by 8k Pixels each pixel would be only one atom.

Thank you for looking at my smol boy Viktor.

Pictures courtesy of David Dietz (me) on a Hitachi 6300 Scanning Electron Microscope, as well on a Dinoscope™ optical microscope.

Smells like Mother’s Day

Sunday, May 14, is Mother’s Day, and presumably the air will be filled with the fragrance of flowers. Mom’s nose might not be the only olfactory organ in appreciation mode.

Top row, left to right:

  • A colorized scanning electron micrograph of a bee antenna, studded with hair-like receptors for smell, touch, taste and hearing.
  • A colorized scanning electron micrograph of the sensory organ in the mouth of a gecko, used to detect pheromones and scents.
  • A colorized scanning electron micrograph of a tick leg, highlighting the Haller’s organ (center of image). The organ is used by the tick to smell for potential victims, to which it will latch using claws and suction cups on its legs and feet.

Bottom row, left to right:

  • A colorized scanning electron micrograph of the surface of the nasal cavity inside a human nose. The cavity is covered with epithelial hair-like structures called cilia (yellow), which line the respiratory tract. Cilia, in turn, are covered with a wet, sticky mucus that humidifies inhaled air and traps dust particles and other airborne pollutants. The cilia move in wave-like motions, pushing the mucus to the back of the nose where it is swallowed.
  • A colorized scanning electron micrograph of a python’s forked tongue, with is used to detect prey by picking up scent particles in the air. The particles dissolve or are trapped in moisture on the tongue, then transferred to the Jacobson’s organ, located in the snake’s mouth, for analysis.
  • A colorized scanning electron micrograph of the snout of a mole showing specialized bulbous projections, called Eimer’s organs. These highly sensitive papillae aren’t used so much to smell as to detect movement of potential prey, such as an unsuspecting earthworm.

Sometimes the view under an electron microscope can be positively scary.  I’ll be scrolling along at low magnification, checking out some nanoscale features, when all of a sudden a colossus will loom huge above the nanolandscape.  Sometimes I actually jump.  Usually it’s a tiny microscopic speck of dust, shaped like a mountain or a monster or a sail.  This is one of the largest I’ve seen, maybe a clothing fiber or a carpet fiber - it’s maybe 1/5 the thickness of a single hair.  Fortunately, this monster’s presence wasn’t a problem, since I was only testing an etching recipe.

Oops.  When we’re making nano-devices, chaos is usually bad.  I named this spot “The Barrens”.

It’s supposed to be a single straight waveguide (basically, a pipe for light) stretching off into infinity.  Instead, this spot got scratched partway through the fabrication process, leaving behind a chaotic landscape that resembles a desert of mesas, monuments, and mountain ranges. They look similar because the process that created them is similar - something eats away at the landscape (in our case, it’s a high-energy etching plasma) and leaves behind areas that were protected by tougher materials (in this case, the material is nanogunk, one of the most resilient materials known to humankind).

*nanogunk is not actually a scientific term. But gunk is maddeningly persistent on our samples sometimes.

Butterfly eggs on a raspberry plant
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A micro-crack in steel
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Household dust
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Needle and thread
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E.coli bacteria on lettuce

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Beard hairs under a scanning electron microscope: cut with razor (left) and electric shaver (right)
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A moth wing
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Leaf of a Virginia spiderwort
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Shark skin