Description The 'waves' in this image are the edge of a 3D-printed hydrogel. Hydrogels are made of water, but act like soft solids such as jelly, contact lenses, or cartilage in our joints. The 'stars' here are salt crystals. These help solidify the hydrogel. By forming a flexible, jelly-like material, these hydrogels can be 3D-printed into any shape. For example, we can print hydrogel implants to heal damaged cartilage in human joints.
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.