Winners' gallery

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Vessels of a healthy mini-pig eye

Peter M Maloca, OCTlab at the University of Basel and Moorfields Eye Hospital, London; Christian Schwaller; Ruslan Hlushchuk, University of Bern; Sébastien Barré

A 3D model of a healthy mini-pig eye. The dent on the right-hand side of the image is the pupil, the opening that allows light into the eye. The blood vessels shown are bringing energy and food to the muscles surrounding the iris, which controls the amount of light entering the eye. The smallest vessels seen here are 20–30 micrometres (0.02–0.03 mm) in diameter. The other large vessels are feeder vessels for the retina, the light-sensing region at the back of the eye.

The width of the 3D model is 10 cm.

Imaging technique: Computed tomography (CT) and 3D printing

Information about the blood vessels was gained by first injecting them with a newly developed, highly viscous contrast medium called µAngiofil. A type of CT scan was then used to obtain a 3D image, which was then converted into a template for 3D printing. This 3D model is made from ABS, the same material as Lego, and took 39 hours to print.

Location where image was created

Image creators

This image was created by an interdisciplinary team of specialists in Switzerland, coordinated by Peter, who is an ophthalmologist (eye doctor). Ruslan works at the University of Bern, where he and his team developed Angiofil, the new contrast agent used in this project. Christian is a freelance visual artist and 3D art and print specialist, and worked alongside engineer Sébastien to produce this 3D model. Find out more.

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