Five stunning images from research labs

Five stunning images from research labs

Much of the infrastructure funded by the CFI is instrumental in creating fascinating imagery that helps illuminate cutting-edge research. Here are some of our favourites.
December 5, 2014

Better inks for better printing

To get high-quality printing, printers often use hot melt inkjet technology instead of water-based inks. Water-based inks require the evaporation of a solvent to dry, while hot ink dries as soon as it hits the paper. Chemists at Carleton University in Ottawa are looking for smarter materials, such as this organic material, which could be used to improve hot inks. The colours, which appear under a polarizing optical microscope, indicate the crystals within the material.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Mostofa Kamal Khan and P. R. Sundararajan, The Journal of Physical Chemistry, Part B (2011), vol. 115, p. 8696-8706.

At the “nucleus” of nuclear medicine

Like a pearl in a giant shell, a worker dressed in a clean-room suit inspects the internal vacuum chamber of the TRIUMF cyclotron ― the largest in the world ― for signs of wear and tear. Located in Vancouver the cyclotron produces the radioisotopes that are used in Positron Emission Tomography (PET), the most sensitive human imaging technology available.

Photo credit: Positron Emission Tomography Imaging at the University of British Columbia

All ears

Foam wedges line the ceiling and walls to create an ultra-silent test chamber at Western University’s National Centre for Audiology in London, Ont. The Beltone Anechoic (“without echo”) chamber is designed to minimize external noise and absorb reflected sound above 125 Hz. The computer-controlled turntable and vertical speaker array in the foreground simulate real-life soundscapes, such as crowds and street traffic, which allows, among other things, to test the 3-D directional performance of hearing aids and assistive listening devices.

Photo credit: David Grainger, National Centre for Audiology

Famished forest

These tiny structures were formed by millions of amoebas clumping together. Having swallowed up all surrounding bacteria, the hungry unicellular organisms worked together to ward off starvation. One-fifth sacrificed themselves to form the stems, allowing the others to rise above the scrum. Transformed into a cluster of spores, they wait for more favourable conditions. Each of the structures is about 2 millimetres in height. Studying how these cells communicate helps us understand similar human immune cells.

Photo credit: Steve Charette, Université Laval

Growing brain

Fluorescent patterns represent the electrical activity in the brain of a premature baby. The different colours highlight the changes in curvature in a developing brain between the ages of seven and nine months, with blue indicating the oldest areas and red showing recent growth. The length of the lines emanating from the brain indicates electrical activity as a function of anatomical growth.

Photo credit: Marc Fournier, Université de Montréal

Do you produce imagery using CFI-funded infrastructure? Whether your research involves photography, illustration, cartography, modelling, medical imagery or any other kind of visual, we want to hear from you! Email us with your images at communications [at]