(art)n Artists: 

Ellen Sandor, Chris Kemp, and Diana Torres

Collaborative Artists: 

Dr. Seth B. Darling, Center for Nanoscale Materials, Argonne National Laboratory
Steven J. Sibener, Carl William Eisendrath Distinguished Service Professor, The University of Chicago


Digital PHSCologram


Duratrans, Kodalith, and Plexiglas




In collaboration with Seth B. Darling of Argonne National Laboratory, and Steven J. Sibener of The University of Chicago, (art)n was able to bring this award winning image to life through the magic of the PHSCologram medium. The original image titled Rough Waters was awarded first place for photography in the 2010 Visualization Challenge. In (art)n’s tradition of embracing the melding of science and art, this work was adapted to a further level of depth by becoming a three-dimensional virtual photograph.

The image depicts a false-colored atomic force micrograph of two types of molecules forming a mixed self-assembled monolayer on a gold surface. The two molecules differ in height by 0.2 nanometers, giving the appearance of ripples. These “self-assembled monolayers” come with a sulfur head that clings to the surface and a tail that sticks out into the environment. One molecule has a tail that consists of carbon and hydrogen, while the other consists of carbon and fluorine. The rich shades of turquoise and indigo are artificial, but the choppy waves are real. They are formed by millions of molecules arranging themselves at the interface, and are caught in the act of separating into regions of dissimilar molecules.

Original Image: Rough Waters (First Place, American Association for the Advancement of Science/NSF International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge Photography Category), Seth B. Darling and Steven J. Sibener, Science (Cover Article) 331, 852 (2011).