IBM scientists working across three countries have created the smallest-ever 3D map of the world -- so tiny that 1,000 maps could fit on a grain of salt.
The map, measuring 22 by 11 micrometers, is scratched out on a polymer surface. Every 8 nanometers corresponds to 1,000 meters of altitude -- so Mount Everest would be about 64 nanometers high.
The map is composed of 500,000 pixels, each measuring 20 nanometers square. The patterning process could conceivably be used for nano-scale electronics and medical devices.
The breakthrough was in how the scientists decided to build the map. IBM scientist Urs Duerig says in a company video that his "a-ha" moment was in realizing he could make 3-D shapes by removing material rather than adding to it.
A tiny silicon tip attached to a cantilever is heated as it approaches a polymer substrate. Force and heat chip away at the polymer, yielding the desired shapes. It took two minutes and 23 seconds to build the 3-D map of Earth.
"It's like the ancient Egyptians chiseled their stuff into stone plates. Here we have the analogue, but on the nano-scale," he said.
The team also created a scale model of the Matterhorn, well known to Europeans and Disney World visitors. The famous mountain is recreated in molecular glass, reaching 25 nanometers high -- a scale of 1 to 5 billion.
The findings were reported in the journals Advanced Materials and Science.
whats the use?! you can't see it
@sammyson9 if you build it, the little people will come!
you can see it, look at picture! just need a high powered something microscope.....
it's amazing how some discoveries are so simple, seriously no one thought of removing/carving with nano structures rather then add? makes sense to me... but then again when you work in a very specialized field your going by what you were taught, and sometime things that are right under your nose isn't even noticed because your so into thinking about how you were taught to think about the subject rather then taking a fresh look at the problem.
"It's like the ancient Egyptians chiseled their stuff into stone plates. Here we have the analogue, but on the nano-scale,"
So...all those nano-people will be wondering how they created the nano-pyramids on their world.
Okay so why are they wasting time making pointless sculptures.
This is fascinating! They are not wasting time, if they can produce a 3D map of the entire world 1,000 times over on a grain of salt, imagine what we could do in regards to nano bots and the like.
@sammyson9 and jonny2010
As the last line in the second paragraph dictates:
"The patterning process could conceivably be used for nano-scale electronics and medical devices. "
First the IBM logo out of xenon atoms and now this! IBM is amazing!
I can't wait to play Nano-Risk!
"The patterning process could conceivably be used for nano-scale electronics and medical devices"
so how about doing something like that instead of making useless worldmaps
@hellkeeper6, it's called a proof of concept. It takes a very long time to go from fundamental research to applied research.
Kudos to IBM for investing so heavily in fundamental research. Many other companies are greedy and never try to help the development of theory. They just spend their money on researching technologies that they can develop into a product as quickly as possible.
And IBM isn't lacking with applied research either. They have successfully registered more patents than any other company for years now.
This is another one we've set free to access, because of the wide interest; you can find the original research article through our news site here: www.materialsviews.com/details/news/687441/Nanocartography__in_3D.html