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Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English TD,  announced  Matthew Gleeson, MSSI researcher, as the winner of Science Foundation Ireland’s Research Image of the Year competition for his picture ‘Lightning Wires’ at the SFI Science Summit which took place in Kilkenny on November 2nd. The winning image was selected from over 40 submissions and will appear on the front of the 2015 SFI Annual Report.

The SFI Research Image competition celebrates images captured by SFI-funded researchers during the course of their research. Matthew is a researcher at the University of Limerick. His winning entry in the competition is of hydrothermally synthesized sodium niobate micro-wires. The image was taken using differential interference contrast on a light microscope, the image being about one hundred microns across. The sodium niobate micro-wires were grown using a method similar to pressure cooking called hydrothermal synthesis. The image shows the largest of the wires which have widths fractions the diameter of a human hair.

Speaking at the SFI Science Summit, which was attended by 300 researchers, Minister English said:“Matthew’s image ‘Lightning Wires’ demonstrates that science has the capacity to surprise. His striking image allows us to see what is not visible to the naked eye and it really captures the viewer’s attention. I congratulate him on this success.”

Congratulating Matthew, Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland(link is external), added: “The SFI Research Image competition offers researchers the opportunity to show the rest of the country what their research looks like and to showcase their work. This image shows the creation of very small artificial wires which can be used for novel applications in future microchips and computers. I congratulate Matthew on his win and wish him continued success with his research at MSSI at the University of Limerick.”

Matthew is PhD student who is supervised by Christophe Silien and Ning Liu.