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March 13, 2018

"The Sarlacc," by Adam Shields

"The Sarlacc," by Adam Shields. This ant’s spiracle -- or air hole, is 35 microns wide, smaller than the width of a human hair. The opening leads to the ant’s respiratory system, a network of hollow tubes that runs throughout its body. "To a nerdy physicist," says Shields, "this image was reminiscent of the Sarlacc, the tentacled desert monster in "Star Wars" that Jabba the Hutt tries to use to execute Luke Skywalker by slow digestion over a thousand years." Shields is a doctoral student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. [Equipment: Scanning electron microscope.]

More about this image
This image is from the second annual scientific art competition held by the Chapel Hill Analytical and Nanofabrication Laboratory (CHANL). CHANL is home to a series of electron microscopes; an X-ray photoelectron spectrometer; a cleanroom with photolithography, deposition and etching systems; and many other powerful imaging tools and equipment. The scientific art competition takes place in the spring and is open to anyone on campus. Entries this year came from students and faculty across the university, including many in pharmacy, biomedical engineering, medicine, computer science, studio art, physics and astronomy, and chemistry. Additional information about the competition and CHANL can be found on the CHANL website. (Date image taken: 2009; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Sept. 15, 2017)

Credit: Adam Shields

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