Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Beginning another SEM-based sculpture

The world as seen through a scanning electron microscope is a beautiful and fascinating place.  These are mitochondria inside a cell: notice that some of the mitochondria are cut open and their internal structure is visible.  The concertina-like folds inside them are protein membranes inside the mitochondrial wall called cristae.  The mitochondria are shown embedded in endoplasmic reticulum.





That yellow oxide colour is just a base layer.  In the next post I'l show the final paint effect, which will involve a lot of magenta and Egyptian violet.  The yellow oxide contrasts with these and will highlight the interior structure of the mitochondria.  

For comparison, this is a SEM photo of mitochondria inside the endoplasmic reticulum:


Image result for mitochondria sem
Image from Woods Lab


It took me a while to get the mitochondria looking how I wanted them to.  On the left here is my first attempt, and on the right is a second, more successful attempt.  I wanted a feathery effect for the cristae so they would contrast with the crisper edges of the endplasmic reticulum folds.





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