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  • Writer's pictureHana Křížová

Nanoscale world on a T-shirt

Updated: Apr 14

On March 11, 2024, a workshop for students from the High School of Applied Arts (SUŠ) in Liberec took place at our Institute for Nanomaterials. During this event, students from the fields of Graphic Design and Applied Photography and Media found the inspiration in their artistic endeavors through the fascinating micro and nanoworld.

Excitement, joy, and enthusiasm - these were precisely the emotions we could observe on the faces of the students who recently participated in our event as part of the InterBridge project. It was not just a workshop but primarily a journey of discovering a beauty and inspiration through the electron microscopy. Three teachers accompanied the students, providing support and inspiration throughout the event.

We commenced with an introductory lecture from our experienced lecturer, Dr. Pavel Kejzlar, on the principles of electron microscopy. Dr. Kejzlar showcased captivating images from the electron microscope that he had collected over the years. However, it was not merely passive observation. Dr. Kejzlar, an excellent educator, engaged the students in a quiz, prompting them to guess what they were seeing in the images. This interactive presentation sparked their interest and set the pace for the rest of the day.

Subsequently, practical sessions followed. Students divided into groups and embarked on a journey of discovery. One group worked directly with Dr. Kejzlar in the microscopy lab, learning the entire process of sample preparation and then having the opportunity to see the results of their work through electron microscopy. The second group embarked on a tour of the CXI laboratories, where they were introduced to various technologies and research procedures, including the 3D printing lab, plasma methods lab, tribology department, nanofiber production lab, and tissue lab.

Later, the two groups swapped roles to allow each student the chance to explore everything we offer. When students observed under the microscope structures and shapes that are hidden from the human eye on a daily basis, their excitement became contagious. That was the main objective of the event - to open students eyes to the beauty in the microscopic world.

Each student brought various biological materials such as plant parts, seeds, leaves, spices, hairs, insects, and wood to examine under the electron microscope. But that was not all. Our German partners from the Chemnitz University of Technology contributed to the event by providing images of "non-biological materials" from an optical microscope, including polyurethane, polymer fiber nanoparticles, and various composites developed for the automotive industry. This provided to students with a new perspective on the structures of materials used in scientific research. This collaboration enriched the students experience and provided them with the opportunity to work with diverse materials.

And what comes next? Each student will now take these images and creatively adapt them for transfer onto fabric using screen printing. Their creations will become part of our traveling exhibition, connecting Czech and Saxon artists and scientists. And because we wanted to further motivate the students, we organized the entire event as a competition, evaluating the best prints from both groups of samples, bio and non-bio.

We look forward to seeing what the students will present to us and how their work will enrich our traveling exhibition. Whether it be photographs, printed T-shirts, or bags, these creations will have a deep meaning for us and our German partners. In this way, we have created a space for the connection of science and art, which strengthens not only education but also the creativity of young talented artists. Such a fusion of art and science is a true inspiration for us, and we look forward to further collaboration within the InterBridge project!

 Hana Křížová

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