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2016 FEI Image Contest Grand Prize Winner

Andrea Jacassi, Italian Institute of Technology (IIT)

FEI is proud to present our 2016 Image Contest Grand Prize Winner: Andrea Jacassi. “Cysteine Rose” won Andrea a Canon EOS 80D DSLR Camera kit. Congratulations, Andrea! 

  See all 2016 Image Contest Images

Cysteine Rose: Our winning image shows a crystal of cysteine produced by drying a highly concentrated solution of cysteine on a silicon nitrite substrate.

Image Inspiration:

Cysteine is a semi-essential proteinogenic amino acid. The thiol side chain in the cysteine is a quite useful feature and often promotes functionalization with a metal surface. My work involves the fabrication of nanostructures exploited to create new biological sensors. The cysteine is a useful chemical component for testing molecular sensors with a well-known chemistry with important biological implications.

Several dilutions of cysteine in high pure water have been studied. The saturate solution of cysteine, once it is dried, produces a precipitate of crystals with a peculiar shape. The cysteine aggregates with spiral leaves with sizes below 20µm. During the analysis of a silicon sample that had those cysteine crystals on it, I noticed an aggregation with a rose shape. The amazing similarity to a real flower inspired me to take an image for the contest. The image was modified with false color to increase the affinity and memory of a rose. Most of my work has been performed in a clean room, and in my picture, I am wearing the clean room outfit.

About the Winner

My name is Andrea Jacassi, and I am a PhD student at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT). I work in the Plasmon Nanotechnology group led by Francesco De Angelis. With a highly sophisticated technique, I create 3D vertical nanostructures for infrared plasmonic enhancement by means of a FEI Nanolab 650 DualBeam system. I received my Master’s degree in Astrophysics and Cosmology from the University of Bologna. I’ve studied the extraordinarily large and then decided to learn how the extraordinarily small work, because they are two sides of the same coin. I love my work, but I also enjoy activities like skiing, hiking, yoga, swing dancing, and traveling. I currently live in Genova.