Photo of a single trapped atom wins Science Photography Competition

Feb 14, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Photo of a single trapped atom wins Science Photography Competition

Feb 14, 2018

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

Here’s something you don’t see every day – a single isolated atom, captured in a photo. This is the photo that Science Photography Competition, organized by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

“Single Atom in an Ion Trap” is a photo by David Nadlinger from the University of Oxford. We bring you the winning image, along with some details. But also, take a look at a few other amazing photos from the contest.

The competition has five categories:

  1. Eureka & Discovery
  2. Equipment & Facilities
  3. People & Skills
  4. Innovation
  5. Weird & Wonderful

EPSRC explains that the atom in the winning photo is held by the fields emanating from the metal electrodes around it. The distance between the small needle tips is about two millimeters. The atom is illuminated by a laser of the right blue-violet color. It absorbs and re-emits light particles quickly enough for an ordinary camera to capture it in a long exposure photo. Here is a cropped version if you find it difficult to see:

David Nadlinger briefly explains how he took the photo:

The idea of being able to see a single atom with the naked eye had struck me as a wonderfully direct and visceral bridge between the miniscule quantum world and our macroscopic reality. A back-of-the-envelope calculation showed the numbers to be on my side, and when I set off to the lab with camera and tripods one quiet Sunday afternoon, I was rewarded with this particular picture of a small, pale blue dot.

As for the gear, “Single Atom in an Ion Trap” was taken with Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 with extension tubes, and two flash units with color gels.

I have chosen a few more photos from the Science Photography Competition. You can learn more and check out the complete gallery on EPSRC’s website.

© Mr Li Shen – Imperial College London: In a kitchen far far away…
1st place Eureka and Discovery
© Mr Tayo Sanders II – University of Oxford: Biodegradable microbowls could help fight stubbon cancers
2nd place Eureka and Discovery
©Dr Andrew Capel – Loughborough University: An in vitro 3D tissue engineered model of neuromuscular junction formation
3rd place Eureka and Discovery
© Miss Estelle Beguin – University of Oxford: Microbubble for drug delivery
1st place Innovation
© Dr Mahetab Amer – University of Nottingham: High throughput screening in search for serendipity
2nd place Innovation
© Mr Sam Catchpole-Smith – University of Nottingham: Building blocks for a lighter future
3rd place Innovation
© Mr Luke Cramphorn – University of Bristol: Robo Selfie 2 of 2
3rd Place People and Skills

Lead image: © David Nadlinger – University of Oxford: Single Atom in Ion Trap – 1st Place Equipment and Facilities and Overall competition winner

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One response to “Photo of a single trapped atom wins Science Photography Competition”

  1. Marios Kappa Avatar
    Marios Kappa

    Photographer is quoting Sagan at the pale blue dot part.