TECH

World's Smallest Painting Is A Mona Lisa Half The Width Of Human Hair (PICTURES)

06/08/2013 09:13 | Updated 06 August 2013

In a feat of technical genius sure to have pleased even Leonardo da Vinci himself, scientists have created the smallest painting ever - a Mona Lisa a third of the width of a human hair.

Dubbed the "Mini Lisa", a team at the Georgia Institute of Technology used a technique called ThermoChemical NanoLithography (TCNL) to "paint" the astounding image.

This involves using a tiny heated cantilever to initiate nanoscale chemical reactions on a substrate surface pixel by pixel to create the 30-micron wide picture.

mona lisa

It may lack some of the detail of the original but it's hugely impressive nonetheless

By varying the heat applied at each pixel the scientists could control its shade. More heat produced lighter shades, less heat produced darker shades. The technique is a step forward in the rapidly developing field of nanotechnology.

Jennifer Curtis, an associate professor in the School of Physics, said: "We envision TCNL will be capable of patterning gradients of other physical or chemical properties, such as conductivity of graphene.

human hair magnified

Three of the paintings could fit across a human hair

Curtis said. “This technique should enable a wide range of previously inaccessible experiments and applications in fields as diverse as nanoelectronics, optoelectronics and bioengineering."

Graphene is an incredibly exciting material made of a honeycomb lattice of carbon atoms.

human hair magnified

The device used to make the image

Despite being only one atom thick, graphene is 100 times stronger than steel of the same width and is an excellent conducter.

It is hoped the material can be put to a multitude of uses including making the internet run up to times faster.

(Click here to read about how Nasa sent a copy of the Mona Lisa to the Moon...)

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