Do not adjust your flat-panel LCD: believe it or not, the crack you are looking at is not a chasm of gargantuan proportions; it is actually a micro-crack just 30 micrometers (0.03mm) across. This photo, titled “Microcanyon,” was taken with a scanning electron microscope by Martina Dienstleder, and is this year’s winner of the FEI Owner Image Contest (FEI make electron microscopes).Dienstleder is a researcher at the Austrian Center for Electron Microscopy and Nanoanalysis, and this is an image of a micro-crack that forms when you bend steel. Sadly, as much as we’d love this photo to be entirely veracious, it’s actually a bit of a lie: a steel micro-crack (or indeed any material) doesn’t look anything like this when photographed with an electron microscope — they’re only capable of black and white imagery. Dienstleder, after peering down her microscope, realized it looked like a canyon — and so she asked her colleague Manuel Paller to color it in (and indeed, the clouds are a bit messy…)
Still, you can’t deny that it’s a spectacular view of the material that most of the modern world is constructed from — and if it really doesn’t impress you, perhaps some alveoli in a network of blood vessels (Opens in a new window)or a horrific close-up of a mite(Opens in a new window) are more your kind of thing?