A PHOTOGRAPH taken by a North-East academic has taken second place in a prestigious national science competition.

The image by Dr Ana Rakonjac from Durham University, is a view down the length of a vacuum chamber that will hold single trapped diatomic molecules assembled from individual atoms.

It claimed the runner-up spot in the equipment and facilities category of the national photography competition run by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

In the picture, four electrodes traverse the length of the chamber, which will provide an electric field to orient the molecules.

These molecules will be used to test out quantum logic operations for future quantum computers.

A photograph of a Syrian refugee using virtual reality won the overall prize.

The image, taken by University of Bath research associate Dr Dima Albadra, shows a woman taking part in a workshop at a refugee camp in Jordan, assisting researchers in the design of a shelter.

Taken in October 2018, refugees were asked to take part in a design workshop using virtual reality headsets to provide feedback and suggestions on shelter typologies.

The photo was named overall winner out of a selection of 169 entries in the competition.

"Participatory design is a two-way process allowing refugees to be part of the research team," Dr Albadra explained.

"It is credited with higher satisfaction in design outcomes and is an obvious way of encouraging socio-culturally sensitive solutions.

"This is usually difficult to achieve in a refugee camp context due to many practical and logistical issues.

"Over 160 refugees participated in our workshops, giving feedback on both design typologies and the participatory methods used, such as physical models, architectural drawings and virtual reality."

Other entries won awards for specific categories, depicting Innovation, Weird and Wonderful, Eureka and Discovery, and Equipment and Facilities.

"The striking photographs in this year's competition reflect the real breadth and ingenuity of engineering research supported by the EPSRC," said Dr Hayaatun Sillem, chief executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering and one of the competition judges.

"Many of the projects captured in these images will go on to transform our world for the better, improve people's lives and the economy.

"It is fantastic to see such creativity, both in the images and the research projects, captured in the winners' work."