ZEISS Microscopy Image Contest 2021

Winning Images

In its 175th anniversary year, ZEISS celebrates the work of researchers using microscopy in various application fields with ZEISS Microscopy Image Contest 2021. ZEISS users from around 50 countries submitted more than 1,300 fascinating entries. We were honored by their participation and we are fascinated by the quality of images we received across different research interests and application types. A big thank you to all the participants!

Explore the winning images and honorable mentions of the ZEISS Microscopy Image Contest 2021 on this web page.

1st Place: Alicia González Segura et al.

Emiliania huxleyi coccospheres

Dolores Molina Fernández, Alicia González Segura and Isabel Sánchez Almazo from University of Granada, Spain

The most outstanding feature of the image is the perfect exposure of the nanostructure of the coccoliths."

Alicia Gónzalez Segura

Alicia González Segura, Dolores Molina Fernández and Isabel Sánchez Almazo from University of Granada (Spain) obtained this stunning image "as part of a study on phytoplankton biodiversity from the Alboran Sea in the Western Mediterranean, with particular emphasis on the lifecycle of Emiliania huxleyi", Alicia González Segura says. "It is amongst the most abundant eukaryotic microorganism in the oceans." The image was acquired with ZEISS GeminiSEM.

2nd Place: Andreas Kopp

Fluorides on a Lithium-ion battery anode surface

Andreas Kopp, Hochschule Aalen, Germany

To observe these geometric particles is always fascinating and creates interesting images.

Andreas Kopp

Andreas Kopp from Hochschule Aalen (Germany) submitted an image of fluorides on an anode surface of a Li-ion battery, taken with a ZEISS Crossbeam 550 scanning electron microscope at a magnification of 7350 times. "The most challenging part is the sample preparation", he says. "Any contaminations and damages of the samples have to be avoided. The batteries have to be opened and the electrolyte is washed away. In that process, the conductive salt in the electrolyte forms these cubes on the electrode surface."

3rd Place (1 of 2): Bernardo Cesare

"The Concert"

Prof. Bernardo Cesare, University of Padua, Italy

With the horizontal banding and the coarser quartz crystals in the lower part, the image resembles a crowd.

Prof. Bernardo Cesare

Professor Bernardo Cesare has been studying rocks for 35 years, using a polarized microscope as the first and fundamental tool for his research. The awarded photomicrograph shows a "special brazilian agate, made of fine-grained quartz", he says. "Obtaining a sharp, focused image is a challenge, because the grain size is smaller than the sample thickness. With the horizontal banding and the coarser quartz crystals in the lower part resembling a crowd, the image has been appropriately named ‘The Concert’.”

3rd Place (2 of 2): Cobus Visagie

Synnemata of a new Talaromyces species

Prof. Cobus Visagie, University of Pretoria, South Africa

Usually one sees synnema from the top, so to capture them from the side provides a unique perspective.

Prof. Cobus Visagie

Professor Cobus Visagie’s image of fungi shows a new Talaromyces species found in South Africa, growing on Oatmeal growth medium. “These structures are relatively fragile and combined with its dry spores are very sensitive to any kind of airflow", he says. "This sample was thus prepared by cutting a block of agar out, carefully placing it on its side, and then taking ±100 extended depth of field images and stacking these together." The image was acquired with an upright research microscope, ZEISS Axio Imager.A2.

◄► In the section above, swipe left or right to scroll through the four winning images.

Honorable Mentions

Dr. Eduardo Zattara, CONICET (Argentina)

Central nervous system of horned beetle pupa

Jaqueline Heinen-Weiler, University Hospital Essen (Germany)

Entrapped Eschericha coli

Fernando Vazquez Luna, Osnabrück University (Germany)

Polymer film with patterned pockets

Vishal Ramkar, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (India)

ZIF-8 metal oxide framework

Quinton Dos Santos, University of Johannesburg (South Africa)

Diplozoid flourescent egg

Prof. José Poloni, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (Brazil)

Uric acid crystals

Max Fussan, Free University of Berlin (Germany)

Selaginella helvetica megaspore

Caterina Di Ciano-Oliveira, St. Michael's Hospital Toronto (Canada)

Human vastus lateralis

Dr. rer. nat. Marko Pende, MDI Biological Laboratory (United States)

Axolotl soup

Stefan Meichtry, Cantonal Police Bern (Switzerland)

Gunshot residue

Nick Smeraldi, Energizer Holdings Inc. (United States)

Zinc oxide needles

Maria Cuacos, IPK Gatersleben (Germany)

Arabidopsis live root

About the Contest

The ZEISS Microscopy Image Contest is a competition held by ZEISS for images taken with a ZEISS microscope. In 2021, the submission phase took place between July 1 - 31. The authors of the top images received three prizes: ZEISS Primostar 3 microscope (1st prize), ZEISS Victory Pocket binoculars (2nd prize) and ZEISS Terra binoculars (3rd prize).

With this image contest, ZEISS is celebrating the work of researchers using microscopy in various application fields in the year of the 175th anniversary of ZEISS. Microscopy instrumentation, analytics and imaging capabilities all play a role in meeting many of our society’s most pressing challenges related to climate change, energy, health and food. The contest will be taking place in 2022 again.

Share #ZEISSImageContest with your friends and colleagues