I've always been interested in the ways advances in technology increase the boundaries of human knowledge and I was very pleased to be given the chance to observe the electron microscopes at Daresbury Laboratory near Warrington. My artwork 'The Perpetual Quest' was inspired by my visit.
The three SuperSTEM microscopes are so sensitive they are housed in a specially designed building, which minimises exposure to vibration, noise and electrical interference. SuperSTEM 3 is currently the most powerful microscope ever built and allows a resolution a million times smaller than the width of a human hair.
The scope of conventional microscopes is limited by the wavelength of light. Electrons are used because they are much smaller in diameter but as they are not visible to our eyes the 'image' must be interpreted by computer.
Researchers are able to identify individual atoms and study the bonds between them.
'The Perpetual Quest' is a digital print which updates the ancient symbol of the Ouruboros, the mythical serpent devouring its own tail, which represents infinity in some cultures and was also used in early maps of the world to signify areas yet to be discovered.The images within the individual circles stand for some of the major scientific discoveries in the history of microscopy - so far
The Perpetual Quest
Digital print on paper