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The Microscopic Beauty of a Water Splatter

This striking image of a water droplet drying was captured by accident.

By Ernie Mastroianni
Jul 23, 2015 5:00 AMNov 12, 2019 5:10 AM
Devin Brown/Georgia Tech Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology


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This striking picture of drying water droplets is actually a mistake, says Devin Brown, a research engineer at Georgia Tech’s Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology.

One day while he was etching microscopic patterns on a silicon chip with an electron beam, he noticed an accidental splatter of water only half a millimeter wide outside his target area. Intrigued, he decided to photograph it through an optical microscope. “It was just a defect at the edge of the sample that was interesting,” says Brown, who was working on new nanofabrication techniques when he took the photo.

The accidental image won grand prize in the 2013 Electron, Ion and Photon Beam Technology and Nanofabrication micrograph contest.

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