How many world maps can you fit on a grain of salt? Apparently 1,000 if, each one measures 22 by 11 micrometers like the one created by tech giant IBM. In fact, the globe is so tiny, it only be seen through a microscope.
Created by the company's Zurich-based scientists in just two minutes and 23 seconds, the world atlas was etched on a polymer made from 500,000 pixels, each measuring 18 nanometers. Though the feat earned the company a well-deserved spot in the Guinness World Records, that was not the main purpose of the researchers that created it.
Instead, they were trying to demonstrate a cost-effective technique that will allow scientists to create structures as small as 15 nanometers. Current methods are not only expensive, but also, do not allow for structures smaller than 30 nanometers.
IBM's new method involves using a nanoscale tip so tiny that it is 100,000 times finer than a sharpened pencil. Using this, the scientists were able to etch both 2D and 3D patterns on the maps they created, swiftly and cheaply.
Experts believe that this new breakthrough will not only be useful in chip development, but also, for building nano electronic and medical devices.
Resources: physorg.com, ibmresearchnews.blogspot.com