World's smallest 3D map of the globe created
The perfectly formed 'nano-world' by IBM researchers in Zurich measures a miniscule 22 by 11 micrometres -- 1,000 maps of the size would fit on just one grain of salt.
The map was "written" on a polymer and is composed of 500,000 pixels, each measuring 20 by 2 nanometres and was created in just two minutes and 23 seconds, the Daily Mail reported.
A map that can only be seen through a microscope may seem as useful as a chocolate teapot, but the new technology behind it is set to open a whole new world in industry.
Existing nano-techniques struggle to make structures smaller than 30 nanometres and are expensive to use. But, this new technique uses a nanoscale tip -- 100,000 times smaller than a sharpened pencil -- to cheaply create 2D and 3D patterns and structures as small as 15 nanometres.
The etching technique the machine uses is similar to how Egyptian's chiseled away at stone to create drawings and hieroglyphics, the scientists said.
The technique opens new prospects for making nanosized electronics and objects in fields ranging from future chip technology to opto-electronics to medicine and life sciences, the researchers reported in the journal Science and Advanced Materials.