Best Microscope Photos From 2011 Nikon Small World Contest
The world as you've never seen it before: Nikon's annual Small World Competition showcases the year's best photography through the eye of a microscope. Here are the top 20 of 2011.


A photomicrograph is a technical document that can be of great significance to science. A one is also an object of beauty, open to several levels of appreciation. And once a year, Nikon celebrates the best of the bunch.

Pictured here: a snowflake magnified 4X by Yangping Wang of the Beijing Planetarium. It received an honorable mention.

Yanping Wang/Beijing Planetarium

1 Igor Siwanowicz

1st Place -- Dr. Igor Siwanowicz

Portrait of a green lacewing larva

Technique: Confocal, magnified 20X

Dr. Igor Siwanowicz/Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology

2 Donna Stolz

2nd Place -- Dr. Donna Stolz

Blade of grass

Technique: Confocal stack reconstruction, autofluorescence, magnified 200X

Dr. Donna Stolz/University of Pittsburgh

3 Frank Fox

3rd Place -- Frank Fox

Melosira monoliformis (living specimen)

Technique: Differential interference contrast, magnified 320X

Frank Fox/Fachochschule Trier

4 Robin Young

4th Place -- Dr. Robin Young


Technique: Live mount, confocal microscopy, magnified 20X

Dr. Robin Young/University of British Columbia

5 Alfred Pasieka

5th Place -- Alfred Pasieka

3D reconstruction of a microchip

Technique: Incident light, Normarski interference contrast, magnified 500X

Alfred Pasieka

6 Dennis Callahan

6th Place -- Dennis Callahan

Cracked solar cell films

Technique: Brightfield, magnified 50X

Dennis Callahan/California Institute of Technology

7 Gabriel Luna

7th Place -- Gabriel Luna

Nerve fibers from the retina of a mouse

Technique: Laser confocal scanning, magnified 40X

Gabriel Luna/UC Santa Barbara, Neuroscience Research Institute

8 Bernardo Cesare

8th Place -- Dr. Bernardo Cesare

Coarse-grained rocks bearing graphite

Technique: Polarized light, magnified 2.5X

Dr. Bernardo Cesare/Department of Geosciences

9 Jan Michels

9th Place -- Dr. Jan Michels

The underbelly of a marine copepod

Technique: Confocal, autofluorescence and congo red fluorescence, magnified 10X

Dr. Jan Michels/Christian-Albrechts-Unversitat zu Kiel

10 Joan Rohl

10th Place -- Joan Rohl

Freshwater water flea

Technique: Differential interference contrast, magnified 100X

Joan Rohl/Institute for Biochemistry and Biology

11 Jan Michels

11th Place -- Dr. Jan Michels

Front view of an ant head

Technique: Confocal, autofluorescence, magnified 10X

Dr. Jan Michels/Christian-Albrechts-Universitat zu Kiel

12 Thomas Deerinck

12th Place -- Thomas Deerinck

"Immortal" cancer (HeLa) cells

Technique: 2-Photon fluorescence, magnified 300X

Thomas Deerinck/National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research

13 Stephen S Nagy

13th Place -- Dr. Stephen S. Nagy

A cross-section of a curare vine 

Technique: Brightfield, digitally inverted, magnified 45X

Dr. Stephen S. Nagy/Montana Diatoms

14 Yanping Wang

14th Place -- Yanping Wang

Various grains of sand

Technique: Reflected light, magnified 4X

Yanping Wang/Beijing Planetarium

15 James H Nicholson

15th -- James H. Nicholson

A live specimen of lobe coral, its tissue pigmented with red fluorescence

Technique: Epiflurescence with triple band (U/B/G) excitation, magnified 12X

JAmes H. Nicholson/Coral Culture and Collborative Research Facility, NOAA/NOS/NCCOS/CCEHBR & HML

16 Christopher Guerin

16th Place -- Dr. Christopher Guerin

Cultured cells

Technique: Confocal, magnified 63X

Dr. Christopher Guerin/VIB (Flanders Institute of Biotechnology)

17 Witold Kilarski

17th Place -- Dr. Witold Kilarski

Filaria worms inside the ear of a mouse

Technique: Fluorescent confocal microscopy, magnified 150X

Dr. Witold Kilarski/EPFL-Laboratory of Lymphatic and Cancer Bioengineering

18 Benjamin Blonder and David Elliot

18th Place -- Banjamin Blonder, David Elliot

The venation network of a young quaking aspen leaf

Technique: Brightfield image of safranin-stained tissue, magnified 4X

Benjamin Blonder, David Elliot/University of Arizona

19 Donna Stolz

19th Place -- Dr. Donna Stolz

A collage of mammalian cells stained for various proteins and organelles, assembled into the shape of a wreath

Technique: Single slice confocal cell mosaic, magnified 200-2000X

Dr. Donna Stolz/University of Pittsburgh

20 Douglas Moore

20th Place -- Douglas Moore

Dinosaur bone cells, unpolished and over 150 million years old

Technique: Stereomicroscopy, fiber optics, magnified 42X

Douglas Moore/University of Wisconsin

Best Microscope Photos From 2011 Nikon Small World Contest

The world as you've never seen it before: Nikon's annual Small World Competition showcases the year's best photography through the eye of a microscope. Here are the top 20 of 2011.

More From Our Sponsors