SEM image of hydroxyapatite nanoparticles (HAp) grown in Si-Ca-Na-P bioglass won image competition for science in the category of microscopy.
Rob Pullar and Basam Ben-Arfa, researchers at DEMaC/CICECO, won the international photo competition for science - National Wiki Science Competition for Portugal (WSC) - in the category of microscopy.
The winning image depicts a “micropear” (a pear-shaped crystal about 5 microns high) made of hydroxyapatite nanoparticles (HAp) grown in Si-Ca-Na-P bioglass. Comparatively, a human hair is approximately 100 microns thick. The “micropear” results from the crystallization of hydroxyapatite (HAp) nanoparticles in the Si-Ca-Na-P bioglass, after immersion in simulated body fluid. In this case, HAp formed as a pear-shaped microcrystal, which appears as if it had been bitten. The bioglass was made by the new and fast sol-gel process (200 times faster) with HAp being the main component of human bone. This bioglass can be used in biomedicine to make scaffolds or bio-implants to replace/regenerate damaged bone.
At the WSC, Robert C. Pullar and Rui M. Novais also obtained second place with the presentation of the image of a “biomimetic echoceramics based on cork (CeO2), an all-ceramic, but with the hexagonal microstructure of the sustainable cork model, used to divide water with concentrated solar energy”.