This awesome piece of nano-art shows dislocations in an arrangement of nano-crystals, each one 300 times smaller than a human hair. But it looks like the micro-universe is about to break into our own.

"Aesthetic Imperfections" by Dr. Hans Danzebrink was chosen as part of last fall's "Science As Art" exhibition, and purchased by Jennifer Millar, who blogged about it:

Entitled "Aesthetic Imperfections", the atomic force photomicrograph reveals dislocations in a photonic crystal arrangement of polystyrene nanospheres. Without the vivid colours generated by computer software, these transparent structures are instead defined by their topography, geometry and symmetry. It is these characteristics which give rise to the optical effects in the material, visible to the human eye. It is fascinating to ponder the interplay between different faces of the same object- the colourless world of the nano scale, and the iridescent play of colours on the macro scale.

The creator of "Aesthetic Imperfections" is Dr Hans Danzebrink of the German metrology institute, Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt. Upon seeing the artwork exhibited as part of RIT's "Images From Science", I contacted Dr Danzebrink to ask him more about it. I was thrilled by his prompt response- he was only too happy to impart his experience, and pronounced himself honoured by my request to reproduce the image. It was refreshing to encounter a research scientist so willing to share his work! The exhibition recognises the impact of photography in science, which is perhaps not appreciated to the same degree as in the art world. The plethora of images presents scientific data artistically, thus making scientific concepts accessible to society at large.

Here's the full image, plus another Hanzebrink original, "Data Channels," showing data moving through a computer chip: