A glance at the hundreds of stunning images submitted for Cambridge University's 2012 photography competition at the department of engineering offers a window into a world of ground-breaking research.
Hundreds of images were submitted for the competition which asked for pictures that both related to research or teaching undertaken in the department of engineering, or out in the field.
The engineering subjects captured in the photographs range in size from the tiniest atom-scale through to some of the world's largest structures.
Each year four prizes are awarded with the top photographers winning items of up-to-the-minute equipment that will enable them to take their photography skills to new levels.
Philip Guildford, director of research at the department of engineering, explained that, given the high standard of entries, the selection process was ambitious with the panel looking for images that would hold their own in a gallery such as Tate Modern or Tate Britain.
He also remarked that, while the competition had begun nine years ago as "a bit of fun", it now played an extremely powerful role in communicating visually the sheer span of engineering and the excitement of working in a rapidly-developing discipline. "Behind each image is a fascinating story of dedicated research," he said.
2012 competition winners
First prize was awarded to Dr Ronan Daly and Dr Alfonso Castrejon-Pita, of the Inkjet Research Centre for their entry 'Drying Patterns of AKD on Glass'.
The image shows the drying and cracking of a film formed when an alkyl ketene dimer (AKD) dispersion is deposited and dried on a glass microscope slide. The work of these researchers explores the new generation of inkjet printing techniques which have potential applications in diagnostic and lab-on-chip technologies that could speed up the process of identifying and treating life-threatening diseases.
Second prize went to Graham Treece and his computer-generated image 'A New Way of Looking' taken from a CT scan a human head.
The image represents more than ten years of research into new techniques for measuring variations in the thickness of the cortex (the surface of the skull) and offers a valuable new tool for clinicians looking at injuries, such as fractures.
Third prize was awarded to Pola Goldberg Oppenheimer for her image 'Nanoscale Fractal Branching Patterns'.
The image depicts adhesive structures that mimic the ability of the gecko's feet to stick to surfaces repeatedly without losing their stickiness.
A separate monograph prize - for images captured using an electron microscope - was awarded to Ching Theng Koh and Daniel Strange who are developing electro-spinning techniques that will produce networks of fibres with diameters one millionth of a metre or less.
Their image 'Electrospun Scaffold - A Fibrous Material with Nanoscale Fibres' shows the fibrous networks that mimic those found in many natural materials and have potential applications as human tissue replacements.
- To view more engineering works of art see the competition photo stream on Flickr