Crystals in Art Competition 2022 is now over!

BACG 'Crystals in Art' Competition

Crystals in Art 2022 Competition Winners

Pride Crystals

Pride Crystals

1st Prize

Entry: #7

Contestant: Krishna Hari

Affiliation: University of Limerick

Object Imaged: L-alanine and trans-4-hydroxy proline crystals

Conditions: Slow evapouration

Image taken with: Phone camera

DescriptionLike humans, crystals come in different shapes, styles and are unique. The background of the picture hints at the birefringent properties of these crystals and coincidentally is the pride LGBTQ+ flag. The rainbow colours highlight the diversity of crystals, and of people.

Spherulites in technicolours

Spherulites in technicolours

2nd Prize

Entry: #4 (2nd Prize)

Contestant: Paolo Lucaioli

Affiliation: Thermo Fisher Scientific Cork (Ireland)

Object Imaged: Pharmaceutical Active Ingredient (no name available for confidentiality reasons)

Conditions: Confidential

Image taken with: Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) with Secondary Electron (SE) detector. The original image was then elaborated with Photoshop.

Description: It is well known that crystallisation is often regarded as more of an art than a science. If this "questionable" definition might be justified by the difficulties encountered during the development of some crystallisation processes, it is indeed correct to say that crystals can be considered real artworks. For this reason, I decided to present this artistic interpretation of an extremely eye-catching image acquired with a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), inspired by Andy Warhol's series of technicolour silkscreens titled "Flowers". The original image was taken during a wide physical properties characterisation of an active ingredient that encountered issues during the formulation stage.

The crystalline particle shows a rose-like morphology known as "spherulite". This habit is often found in nature and is represented by radial distribution of crystals (in this case plate-like primary particles) generating a complex structure, rich in pores and cavities. The relative dimensions of the spherulites strongly affect many physical properties, such as specific surface area, bulk density, compactibility, etc. Variation of these properties translate to downstream effects that can impact both the manufacturing process (e.g. powder transfer, filtration, tableting, etc.) and the performance of the API (e.g. stability, dissolution, bioavailability, etc.).

Colour of Life

Colour of Life

2nd Prize

Entry: #9

Contestant: Lihong Jia

Affiliation: Tianjin University

Object Imaged: Aspirin

Conditions: The saturated solution of aspirin in isopropanol was evaporated for one week at room temperature.

Image taken with: Stereomicroscope


Crystals in Art 2020 Competition Winners

Sunrise Swords on the Frozen Lake

Sunrise Swords on the Frozen Lake

Entry: #4248 (1st Prize)

Contestant: Sean William Connolly

Affiliation: University of Kent

Object Imaged: Organic crystal of a Donor-Acceptor Stenhouse Adduct molecule

Conditions: Crystallised from Chloroform

Image taken with: Phone camera looking down microscope lens



Entry: #4272 (2nd Prize)

Contestant: Shiqiang Wang

Affiliation: University of Limerick 

Object Imaged: A coordination polymer or metal-organic framework crystallized for 1.5 years!

Conditions: The solution was heated at around 100 degree C for 1 day and then filtered to a new vial. The vial was left still for 1.5 years.

Image taken with: Microscope; MeiTu software

Colour of Life

Colour of Life

Entry: #4206 (3rd Prize)

Contestant: Rajshree Chakrabarti

Affiliation: University of Houston 

Object Imaged: Protoporphyrin IX

Conditions: Crystallised from butanol

Image taken with: Scanning Electron Microscope