This is an image of polymer diffusing randomly to fill the voids in the nanoimprinting lithography process. The hardened polymer creates interesting abstract textures like ocean foam gliding on the beach. This true-color image was naturally painted by interference of polarized light beams.
Nanoimprinting is a technique for fabricating nanoscale structures. This beauty of randomly diffusing polymer occurred naturally just like any liquid flowing on surfaces. We got to see this snapshot because the heat treatments during the imprinting had hardened the polymer before it had time to completely fill the voids. The image might be beautiful, but it’s just another failed attempt at nanoimprinting. The image was taken with differential interference contrast microscopy technique, which utilized orthogonally polarized light to enhance the contrast. The thickness gradient of the polymer naturally gave a beautiful color gradient across the image.