The Alluring Images of Drugs Under a Microscope

From Aspirin to Ecstacy
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Harrison Williams
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From Aspirin to Ecstacy

As a laboratory assistant, Maurice Mikkers was given the opportunity to view substances from a different perspective, under a microscope. He was continuously amazed by what he saw and he decided he needed to find a way to capture these images. Enter the intriguing world of micrographic pictures.

Diclofenac crystals after waiting for 72 hours, made visible by using a cross polarised light microscope.

Diclofenac crystals after waiting for 72 hours, made visible by using a cross polarised light microscope. (Maurice Mikkers)

After graduating from art school, Mikkers started a new project which he calls Micrograph Stories. In this series he takes photos of substances that have gone through a crystallization process, revealing brilliant and fascinating images. His micrograph explorations led him to wondering what certain drugs would look like after going through the crystallization process and thus, you have the photos that are featured in this article. 

"By creating this micrographic art, I want to show the microscopic structures and create more awareness about daily consumed products. Most of us tend not to consume (hard) drugs, but other products, as in: painkillers or (prescription) medication or even food additives are more commonly consumed, and more familiar."

2C-B Crystals ∅ Cross polarisation polarisation microscope with 200x enlargement.

2C-B Crystals ∅ Cross polarisation polarisation microscope with 200x enlargement. (Maurice Mikkers)

The way Mikkers went about getting his hands on these drugs is not exactly legal, but he's based in The Netherlands and drug laws are more lenient, plus he was only holding very small amounts of each substance. Because he didn't want to obtain the drugs from dealers on the street, in order to get what he needed for this project Mikkers would take to the deep web. After making his purchases, he conducted his experiments, took these amazing photos and then disposed on his drugs in the safest way possible. The results from Mikker's project are absolutely astonishing and it allows us to look at the world in a way we could have never imagined. To read the full story of Maurice Mikkers' Micrograph Stories, click here.