Sometimes when you’re doing research you come across something beautiful that you can’t quite explain. This is what happened to Fijs van Leeuwen’s research group, which produces dyes for use in image-guided surgery.
Dyes remain beautiful, even if you don’t always know exactly what you’re looking at. To test the sensitivity of a fluorescence camera, Fijs van Leeuwen’s group (Leiden University) used a dilution series of a Cy5, a well-known dye. They did this in a black well plate and these “beautiful patterns” stood out. Van Leeuwen suspects that the pattern is related to surface tension and air bubbles, but he remains doubtful about the exact origin of this pattern. And that may make it even more fascinating.