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April 26th, 2008
This is probably the smallest image of an Oregon State Beaver you will never see with the naked eye.
It was drawn by OSU researchers developing tools for work in nanotechnology.
The tip used to create the image, and another one of the OSU logo, is about 100,000 times smaller than the tip of a ballpoint pen. It's the width of a single protein molecule.
The end result is so tiny it can't be seen with any optical microscope.
"In the nanolithographic work we're doing for carbon nanotube and graphene electronics experiments, we need to be able to draw and cut in very careful patterns," said Jorg Bochterle, an OSU physics exchange student from Germany. "So we started drawing some recognizable patterns. This was actually a very useful exercise."
The pen used to draw the images is controlled by an atomic force microscope. The researchers program the machine to apply pressure to the tip and draw lines in precise configurations, down to the size of a single molecule.
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