FNR Science Image Competition: Microcarriers


The FNR Science Image Competition aims to show the beauty of research and science outreach in Luxembourg. Charlotte Stoffels’ ‘Microcarriers’ is one of the 2022 ‘distinction’ images in the Object of Study category. Learn more about this fascinating image and how it was created.

"Microcarriers" by Charlotte Stoffels, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST)

“In this image, microcarriers are coated with gold nanoparticles. The coating process was not perfect yet, which resulted in such a nice image. Sometimes making mistakes leads to beautiful surprises!” Charlotte Stoffels, PhD candidate in bioimaging at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) explains.

As you can see from this image, microcarriers are micron-sized spheres. They act as scaffolds to which adherent cells can bind and proliferate. Microcarriers play an important role: large amounts of cells are required for the production of certain biomedicines and vaccines and in the treatment of challenging diseases such as cancer.

Microcarrier properties are thus continuously improved for better cell adhesion, proliferation, and cell detachment. Here, their surface was functionalized with gold nanoparticles, which are known for their unique physical properties and multiple functionalities in biomedical applications.


An international jury selected the winning photographs, images and videos, based on their aesthetic quality and their aptitude to inspire and fascinate, to convey or to illustrate knowledge, to narrate a story, to engage the public to explore a new universe.

When viewers see this image, they are faced with a double question. First, of course, the fundamental question of what they are seeing. And secondly, how small 100 microns (100 µm) is. This unit of length, absolutely common to scientists, is exceptional for the public. For the jury, the image, therefore, invites the viewer to question not only what he or she sees on a daily basis, but also to become aware of the incredible things that happen on very small scales, which can nevertheless have enormous consequences.

About the FNR Science Image Competition – discover the exhibition!

The FNR Science Image Competition ran for the first time in 2020, on the occasion of the FNR’s 20th birthday. Now in its third edition, the 2022 awarded and ‘distinction’ images – along with the ‘Prix du Public’ awarded in collaboration with media partner RTL, can be discovered at an exhibition at the Luxembourg Science Center from 29 June until the end of September 2022.

More exhibitions, such as the annual exhibition in front of Lycée de Garçons in Luxembourg-Limpertsberg (Place Auguste Laurent), will follow later in the year. Do not miss your chance to experience these fascinating images on 2m tall posters!

Categories in the FNR Science Image Competition

1) Object of study: From the microcosm to the macrocosm, images of the research object captured by scientists using a camera or generated by a computer.

2) Scientists in action: Photographs of research in practice, presented by and featuring those conducting it.

3) Places and tools: Photographs of the surroundings in which scientists take measurements, generate data, share their passion, make discoveries and of the instruments they use while doing so.

4) Science outreach activities: Photographs of an activity where researcher and science communicators dialogue with the school children, students or the wider public or of interactive projects for school children, students and the wider public, giving them an overview of science and research and/or scientists’ research methods.


Discover the stories behind more images from the 2022 FNR Science Image Competition

FNR Science Image Competition: The bubbly oil

FNR Science Image Competition: Winner Prix du Public

FNR Science Image Competition: Resourceful recycling

FNR Science Image Competition: Telescope

FNR Science Image Competition: The Sun Spot

FNR Science Image Competition: Robot, sit

FNR Science Image Competition: Lost lake

FNR Science Image Competition: Experiment station

FNR Science Image Competition: Luxembourg scientists in Antarctica

FNR Science Image Competition: Fantastic beasts

FNR Science Image Competition: Bone track

FNR Science Image Competition: Dead tree

FNR Science Image Competition: This is plasma

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