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Blood clot Featured SEM Print

Blood clot

Blood clot. Coloured Scanning Electron Micrograph (SEM) of a blood clot, also known as a thrombus. Red blood cells (erythrocytes) are seen trapped in a web of white fibrin threads made of an insoluble protein. Small platelets (green) have also become enmeshed in the clot. When activated, platelets become spiky (as here), clump together and release chemical factors into the blood. These factors cause fibrin threads to form. A white blood cell of the immune system is also trapped (yellow). A clot forms when a blood vessel is injured or diseased. A clot that forms inside a blood vessel may lead to a heart attack if it blocks a heart artery. Magnification: x4, 200 at 6x7cm size. x2, 100 at 35mm size

© Cnri/Science Photo Library

Spores of field horsetail Featured SEM Print

Spores of field horsetail

False colour scanning electron micrograph of spores of the field horsetail, Equisetum arvense. The horsetail is the only living type of a primitive family of plants, the Sphenopsids, that were predominant at the formation of the coal measures. The vegetative stems are produced from underground rhizomes & the leaves are reduced to toothed sheaths at the leaf joints. Fertile shoots bear conelike sporangia, carrying the spores, which in this species appear in Spring. The picture shows moist spores bound tightly by their elators, or bands of thickened cells. As the spores dry out, the elators unfurl, tossing the spores out of the sporangium. Mag: X 114 at 35mm. Original is BW print b450/025


Human egg cell and sperm cells, ESEM Featured SEM Print

Human egg cell and sperm cells, ESEM

Human egg cell and sperm cells, coloured ESEM(environmental scanning electron micrograph).There are three sperm cells (brown) attempting tofertilise the egg cell (ovum, blue). Once one ofthe sperm cells has fertilised the egg cell, rapidchemical changes make the outer layer ( zona pellucida ) of the egg cell thicken, preventing anyof the other sperm cells entering it. The head ofthe successful sperm cell releases geneticmaterial that mixes with the genetic materialin the egg cell. The resulting zygote then has thefull set of genes required to develop into a newhuman. The sperm cell ( spermatozoon, male) and theegg cell ( ovum, female) are the human gametes (reproductive cells). Magnification: x680 whenprinted 10cm wide

© Thierry Berrod, Mona Lisa Production/Science Photo Library