Related Resources

Other student contests:


Congratulations to our previous winners Ben Davis and Ryan Hines from the Univeristy of Missouri for their image!

Submit your images! Help us demonstrate how beautiful the nanoscale can be and explain how the research behind your picture may lead to nanotechnologies that benefit society. The goal is to envision where your research is headed and explain how “seeing” at the nanoscale is important to reaching that vision. This contest is for students conducting nanotechnology research in the United States and U.S. territories.

Federal agencies funding research and development activities in nanotechnology under the auspices of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), with support from the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO), are working to highlight the accomplishments of and build community around the NNI, and to educate the general public about nanotechnology.  One such effort is EnvisioNano, a contest for students who submit striking nanoscale images with thoughtful, concise descriptions of the science.

Email submissions to envisionano@nnco.nano.gov and include:


  • Name and affiliation

    • Submissions will be accepted from teams and from individuals. A student must be responsible for the majority of the work both in acquiring the image and in creatively manipulating it. A lead contact person must be designated for team submissions. Please specify both the people responsible for the scientific effort behind acquiring the image and the individual(s) who created the submission. The order in which names are listed is the order in which they will appear on the EnvisioNano judging site and on Nano.gov.

  • Technique you used to acquire the image

  • Caption (50 words or less): Explain the image, use plain language and avoid jargon

  • Description (150 words or less): Explain your current research and how the image fits with the overall goal of your work – again, use plain language to tell why your research is important

  • Funding source: Include funding agency, program manager, and award/grant number if possible

  • Laboratory website: Include link to the lab where you work, if available

  • Image Criteria:

    • Images that have won other competitions are not eligible

    • Timely, acquired within a year prior to submission

    • Original, submitters must be responsible for both image acquisition and creative manipulation

    • Maximum file size of 20 MB

    • Minimum image size is 1280 x 960 pixels,  

    • File type must be a .jpeg, .png or .tiff

    • The primary object in the field of view must be 1 to 100 nm in size; scale information must be included in the image

    • Each image can only be submitted once; an individual or team can submit multiple images

    • The image cannot contain false objects (Addition of objects, e.g., a ship or flowers, will make the image ineligible)


Qualifying, appropriate images will be posted online for public semi-finalist voting by the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO), subject to resource constraints. Anyone is welcome to vote, so make sure to tell your friends, lab mates, and family! The voting page will be available on the NNI webpage (http://www.nano.gov/). Once semifinalist images are determined by public voting, judges from the NNI will choose the winning images.


The winning submissions will be spotlighted on the NNI website for one month. The winning images, the names and affiliations of the submitters, and the descriptions of their research will be featured on the homepage of Nano.gov. The images and accompanying information will then be placed in an archive on the site. Additionally, the winning images may appear in official documents and publications for the NNI such as the budget supplement or strategic plan. The NNCO may also arrange for viewing of the winning images at symposia and technical conferences.


Check back for information on the next round.



  • The EnvisioNano contest is only open to students and postdoctoral researchers conducting research in the United States and U.S. territories who are at least 18 years old.

  • Contest entry constitutes agreement to adhere to the rules and stipulations set forth by the NNCO.

  • Any entrant or entry found to be in violation of any rule will be disqualified.

  • Each entrant may submit up to two images and accompanying descriptions.

  • Each entrant certifies, through submission to the contest, that the entry is his or her own original creative work and does not violate or infringe the creative work of others, as protected under copyright law.

  • By entering the contest, the entrants agrees to hold NNCO harmless for all legal and administrative claims, including associated expenses that may arise from any claims related to his or her submission or its use.

  • Entrants retain all copyright and equivalent rights but give NNCO nonexclusive rights to use their names, likenesses, quotes, and submissions for educational publicity and/or promotional purposes. This includes but is not limited to website display, print materials, and exhibits.

  • NNCO reserves the right to use semifinalist and finalist winners’ names and entries for educational, publicity and/or promotional purposes including website or exhibition of winning entries. It is understood that entries will be shared with reporters covering these awards and for promotion of the contest itself.

  • NNCO reserves the right to disqualify submissions for the contest, as appropriate.

  • NNCO reserves the right to make changes to submitted text in order to make it appropriate for the intended audience.

  • NNCO will not be responsible for any claims or complaints from third parties should these images be published or exhibited.

  • NNCO will not respond to any claims or inquiries regarding contest results.

  • NNCO will have the final say on any point not outlined in the entry rules.

  • Information requested for submission will be used to determine how and if the contest is meeting its goals, purpose, and audience. Submission of this information is also necessary to contact entrants.

  • All contestants agree that they, their heirs and estates shall hold harmless the United States, the employees of the Federal Government, and all NNCO employees for any and all injuries and/or claims arising from participation in this contest.