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How do you write the smallest writing in the world?

asked in science

athenabs13ohe answers:

By apparently using atoms.
here you go.

Japanese scientists have written the world's smallest letters using only a handful of atoms.
a research team at Osaka University has "written" the letters "Si" using an atomic pen that interchanges silicon and tin atoms, enabling those who have the time, resources, and patience to manipulate said atoms one by one. The results are a diminutive 2 x 2 nm (or 40,000 times smaller than a strand of hair) which took about an hour and a half to complete.
That's impressive and all, but I once had an Asian lady write my whole name on a grain of rice at the mall. Suck on that one, scientists!
Atomic pen achieves invisible victory [engadget]

Supplement from 02/02/2009 01:25pm:

twas these chaps.

How many Cardinals can fit on the head of a pin? Still unknown, but Stanford physicists can at least tell us how many letters formed by quantum electron waves can fit on the surface of a sliver of copper - two; as in "S" and "U." That's for 'Stanford' and 'University' if you haven't caught on and Cardinals are their ... oh, never mind, if you didn't already get it you stopped reading by now.

So how small is that? The letters in the words are assembled from subatomic sized bits as small as 0.3 nanometers, or roughly one third of a billionth of a meter. Bonus: the wave patterns even project a tiny hologram of the data, which can be viewed with a powerful microscope.

That means they have reclaimed bragging rights for creating the world's smallest writing, a distinction the university first gained in 1985 and lost in 1990 to Big Blue.


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