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IBM makes world map 1000 times smaller than grain of sand

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Forbes describes work at IBM Zurich:

IBM researchers in its Zurich lab have drawn–or rather, carved–a three-dimensional map of the world that’s 22 micrometers east to west by 11 micrometers north to south. At that size, about 15 of the maps could be wrapped end to end long-ways around a strand of human hair, by our math.

In a process the researchers describe in articles published today in Scienceand Advanced Materials, they used a silicon needle with a tip about ten thousand times smaller than an ant to sculpt a polymer material known as polyphthalaldehyde. By heating the needle to between 300 and 500 degrees centigrade, they were able to melt and evaporate tiny segments of the material without disturbing those particles’ neighbors…

IBM’s researchers hope that it could someday be used to craft circuit boards at smaller sizes than e-beam lithography is used to etch them today, or even build tiny nanobots or other tiny mechanical structures that could travel inside the human body or other nanoscale environments.

More images here.  Go IBM!  —Chris Peterson

11 Responses to “IBM makes world map 1000 times smaller than grain of sand”

  1. The Nanobots That Refused To Die Says:

    [...] this bit of work was widely reported, for example here in Forbes, the Foresight Institutes take on it made me chuckle. Apparently IBM’s researchers hope that it could someday be used to craft circuit [...]

  2. Instapundit » Blog Archive » NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: IBM makes world map 1000 times smaller than grain of sand…. Says:

    [...] NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: IBM makes world map 1000 times smaller than grain of sand. [...]

  3. Ferd Says:

    Amazing! Way to go, IBM!

  4. Jonathan Silber Says:

    Finally— a compact map that folds easily back inside the guidebook!

  5. Jonathan Silber Says:

    If you can wrap fifteen of these maps around a single strand of human hair, that should free up a whole lot of space in the glove compartment—without mussing the wife’s coif.

  6. ameryx Says:

    What is the unit of “smallness”? Or do you mean that the map is one one-thousandth the size of a grain of sand?

  7. IBM makes world map 1000 times smaller than grain of sand « DPGI Says:

    [...] 1000 times smaller than grain of sand Posted: August 23, 2010 by jcrue in DPGI archives 0 the Foresight Institute: IBM researchers in its Zurich lab have drawn–or rather, carved–a three-dimensional map of the [...]

  8. geokstr Says:

    I heard they used the exact same technology to produce a very realistic, highly legible copy of the Health Care Reform Act. It stacks just 6 inches high and weighs a mere 23 pounds, an absolutely remarkable feat of miniaturization.

  9. Nanoscale Matterhorn | myninjaplease Says:

    [...] .:foresight.org-> Share this: [...]

  10. Ashutosh Chandra Says:

    It’s a great work, Now we can Imagine the power of Nanotechnology.Feeling proud to be an IBMer.

  11. Jhan Davis Says:

    I’ll be keeping an eye on this. When we can pick up a case of polyphthalaldehyde templates at Staples, along with the ultrafast etcher, I’m replacing my DVD burner.

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