Le Petit Prince

Congratulations to Aslihan Sayilan and Louis-Marie Lebas, two PhD students from INSA Lyon! Their image won the best microscopy award in SEMPA 2022 in Nantes and has been published in "The Conversation" journal on the 7th of September, 2022.

“The Little Prince” was never shown as little as in micro-scale before. However, it was appeared after a tribological test in CLYM thanks to the enhanced analysis techniques with microscopy.

Diamond-like-carbon (DLC) film was tested to investigate the role of environment on its tribological behaviour in situ conditions in small scale. Tribology is a scientific discipline of contact mechanics which is related with friction, wear and lubrication behaviour of materials. To perform the tests, the laboratory-made ball-on-disk tribometer was implemented inside the SEM Quattro (by Thermo Fisher Scientific) and the microscope was operated from high vacuum mode to ESEM mode up to 100% relative humidity. During the tests, a normal load was applied along a sliding distance to apply friction. For the test performed in high vacuum mode, removed film particles during sliding were accumulated at the starting point of the contact in a special arrangement. When the particles were analysed with a higher magnification, it was noticed that they have a quite similar appearance as the image of the cover page of the novel “The Little Prince”. Therefore, the corresponding zones of the microscopy image was coloured by Adobe software in a transparent way to keep the contrast of the particles to emphasize more the little prince, fox and the rose.

The image was taken by Aslihan Sayilan and coloured by Louis-Marie Lebas, who are the PhD students from INSA Lyon.

Link to the paper published in The Conversation: