Caffeine Crystals

Image: Annie Cavanagh and David McCarthy

To paraphrase Ben Franklin, coffee is proof that God loves us and wants us to work. The beautiful image above is a false-colored scanning electron micrograph of the crystals of caffeine, the magical thing that makes coffee work:

Caffeine is a bitter, crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug. In plants, caffeine functions as a defence mechanism. Found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves and fruit of some plants, caffeine acts as a natural pesticide that paralyses and kills certain insects feeding on the plant. The main crystals of caffeine were 400-500 microns long; however, this crystal group formed on the end of the larger crystal and measures around 40 microns in length.

It's part of the winners' gallery over at Wellcome Image Awards 2012: Link 

Newest 3
Newest 3 Comments

Adding color to an object that cannot have color (due to being smaller than the wavelength of visible light) seems like an odd pastime. To each their own, I guess, but the original would be more interesting to me.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Commenting is closed.

Email This Post to a Friend
"Caffeine Crystals"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More