Cristiano Matricardi, PhD fellow at the NANOPTO group (Nanostructured Materials for Optoelectronics and Energy Harvesting) is one of the recipients of the 16h edition of the science photography contest "FOTCIENCIA" awards. From a total of 697 photographies, 7 photos have been chosen by the jury as the winners, and "Trampa de luz" is one of them. Congratulations!
Cristiano Matricardi also won last year's FOTICMAB contest (the photography contest at ICMAB) with the "Photonic leaf", and it seems that he has followed the same direction with the awarded photo in FOTCIENCIA: photonic crystals based on cellulose on a leaf skeleton. Do you want to know more? Continue reading his experience in his own words...
Is your research reflected in the photography? How?
I would say that this photo is how my research work looks like. Fancy and colorful objects that conceal a complex and vast world ruled by photonic and plasmonic principles. I always try to put my research in images, looking for a way to grasp the meaning of complex concept and freeze them in something more than a simple photo.
This idea was born during the writing of our publication "Hydroxypropyl cellulose photonic architectures by soft nanoimprinting lithography" recently published on Nature Photonics. My colleague Camilla Dore had the idea to merge our biodegradable photonic architecture with an unusual substrate, a leaf skeleton. I was inspired by her work and I desired to try to unveil the science behind the role of light in our daily life, making use of photography.
In this particular snapshot, I made use of the intrinsic beauty of these nanostructures enhanced by the leaf skeleton that reflect on a water mirror to illustrate the physical processes involved in light trapping for photonic application.
How do you feel after being selected one of the seven winners?
At first, you do not realize what this is. When I knew I was selected, I was doing some data analysis, so I stopped and run (really fast) to my office to give the great news to my colleagues. The main feeling is of course happiness but mixed up with disbelief. You keep saying for a whole day with a disbelieving tone of voice: "I am one of the winners, I got it".
Is it the first time that you win an award for your photographies? (apart from the FOTICMAB 2018!)
Yes, is the first time in my life that I win a national award of this resonance.
Any other commets about the photo? What does it represent for you?
This photo is a good representation of the dynamic and creative environment in which I am pleased to work. Special acknowledgment has to be done to Camilla Dore. Together with her, we developed the idea, from its first concept to the actual snapshot, sharing technical and artistic points of view and reaching excellent results.
Author: Cristiano Matricardi
Description: The extraordinary beauty of nature is such that, through optical phenomena, the wings of a butterfly shine bright blue. This is the key to the colors visible in this photograph. A special support, the skeleton of an ivy leaf, together with biodegradable cellulose and nanotechnology techniques, are the fundamental pieces to make nanostructures that create this luminous game. In our laboratory we synthesize photonic crystals; nanometric and ordered structures that can interact with visible light in a controlled manner. These crystals reflect, transmit and capture specific areas of the light spectrum. For this reason it is possible to see different colors: the tones reflected on the leaf and the transmitted colors that reach the lens mirroring in the water. At the same time, part of the light gets trapped and can be used to activate electronic, thermal or biological phenomena. Everything, in a single image.
Award: 1,500 €
Title: Trampa de luz (Light trap)
Photographic equipment: Canon 7D, Canon EF 100mm f / 2.8
In this video you can see the other selected photos of this year's FOTCIENCIA contest: