The Best Photos Taken Through Microscopes Will Blow You Away

In these images, art and science come together in a surprising and beautiful way.

Since 1974, Nikon has held a photography competition to recognize excellent images taken with the assistance of a microscope. In 2021, the competition received almost 2,000 entries from 88 countries. In these images, art and science come together in a surprising and beautiful way. We looked through this year's winning images to share our favorites.

A close-up of an ant looming over the camera with a blue background
A close-up of a butterfly wing with scales
A square crystal shape on a bumpy background
A close-up of a slime mold mushroom with a fluffy top
A claw of a small crab louse that has been magnified many times
A snowflake on a black background, magnified many times
A gnat preserved in amber, hovering in the frame,  magnified many times
Swirls and pockets of color on an agatized dinosaur bone,  magnified many times
A gridlike pattern of cells from an onion skin magnified many times
A small green cell of an algae plant, on a white background, magnified many times
The leg of a beetle, with claw and hair, on a black background, magnified many times
A blue globe with small blue worms on a blue background,  magnified many times
small, spiky round structures are butterfly eggs on a  stem,  magnified many times
A pink swirl on top of a pink stem section of a flower on back background,  magnified many times
A jumble of colors on black with rocks and streaks of color throughout,  magnified many times
The stem with mold on a black background, magnified many times
The eye of a horsefly with water droplets on it, magnified many times
A swirl of colors on a black background which is actually brain tumor cells, magnified many times