International Scanning Probe Microscopy Image Contest


The invention of some simple but fascinating tools commonly referred to as Scanning Probe Microscopes (SPM) has led to the visualization and manipulation of matter at the atomic scale. SPM is an outstanding development that has brought Nanoscience and Nanotechnology to the forefront of our research today. These tools have represented a revolution in the working methods of hundreds of research labs around the world in a large variety of fields such as Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science, Biology, and Engineering. More than two decades after the invention of Scanning Probe Microscopes, we have organised two editions of International Scanning Probe Microscopy Image Contest (SPMAGE07 and SPMAGE09) to recognize the important and innovative contributions of scanning probe research.

About SPMage09About SPMage07

Nowadays, we are bombarded with such an amount of images that their importance disappears. This is meaningless (a mistake) if we realise that the first images already appeared in the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc cave paintings, dating to the Paleolithic era. “Beautiful” rhinoceroses, felines, bears, owls and mammoths were painted with great perfection. They draw a 30000 years old world, unknown and different from our own world. We can consider images as a bridge connecting the past –Chauvet cave– and the present –in today’s world–, the inside world –nanoobjects- and the outside world –perceptible to our senses. But in addition the images that contribute to increase our knowledge are also aesthetically beautiful, were they abstract or figurative. In this sense, the collection of images submitted to the SPMage competition has an impact beyond the realm of scientific research.


In summary, the SPMage competition has the aim to recognize the important contributions to Nanoscience and Nanotechnology that have been made by the many nano initiatives under way around the world. An international jury of prominent researchers in the field of SPM assesses the images submitted to the Image Prize competition, taking into account both scientific and artistic merits.


The five winner images per edition have received the following monetary prizes: The International SPM Image Prize is organised by


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