Description By 2030, the aging US population will need over 500,000 hip implants each year. This image shows a cobalt and chromium alloy used in these implants. Images like these help researchers study defects which can lead to corrosion and break down in hip replacements. This sample of the metal alloy is only 100 nanometers thick 100 times thinner than a human hair. At this microscopic scale, we can see variations in the metals crystal structure (here, the black, curving lines show where the sheet is bending). Studying these metals in detail helps researchers design better biomaterials and safer, longer-lasting implants.
These images stem from cutting-edge research on campus, winning our annual Scientific Images Contest which goes on display in galleries across Chicago.
Through partnerships with schools and community groups, we train Northwestern researchers to share their expertise and creativity in a community centered way. Sales from these images goes to support our education and outreach activities, connecting researchers to the wider community.