Trinity’s Nanoscience Institute, CRANN, Wins SFI Research Image of the Year Award

Posted on: 18 November 2011

‘The Hive’, an image taken in Trinity’s nanoscience institute, CRANN, of a porous surface of the polymer polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) was named by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) as the Research Image of the Year for 2011.  The SFI Research Image competition offers SFI-funded researchers the opportunity to submit digital images created during the course of their research.  The winning image was taken by Dr David McGovern under the supervision of Professor John Boland, Principal Investigator at Trinity’s School of Chemistry.

The announcement was made by Minister for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock TD, at the recent SFI Science Summit in Athlone, attended by 300 researchers.

‘The Hive’, taken by Dr David McGovern at Trinity’s Nanoscience Institute, CRANN.

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 wide 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 fewer than 3 nanometres, approximately 30,000 times smaller than the width of one human hair.

Speaking at the SFI conference, Professor 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 a visually appealing manner.”

“I’d like to extend my congratulations to Dr David 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. 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 amongst others.”