Your Morning Caffeine Shot, Up Close

This isn't candy. Nor is it splinters of wood from a multi-colored tree. In fact, it's a false-colored scanning electron micrograph showing caffeine crystals in close-up detail. No wonder the stuff gets you going first thing in the morning.

Photographed by Annie Cavangh and David McCarthy, the image was one of the winners of this year's Wellcome Image Awards. This crystal group, formed on the end of a larger crystal, measured around 40 microns in length.

Consumed alone, caffeine is an extremely bitter compound—not that you probably notice that in your skinny soya latte. But while you're chugging your morning brew, you should take a look at more of the winners over in the Wellcome Collection's gallery—they combine wonderful imagery with some interesting science, too. [Wellcome Collection]

Image by Annie Cavangh and David McCarthy