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Physicists Build World's Smallest Snowman

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 9 comments

The holiday season is in full swing and what better way to mark the month than with the world's smallest snowman?

The National Physical Laboratory in the United Kingdom are celebrating the season with the world's smallest snowman. NPL built the tiny snowman by using two tin beads to calibrate electron microscope astigmatism. Measuring 10 µm across, 1/5th the width of a human hair, Mr. Snowman's eyes and smile were milled using a focused ion beam, and the nose, which is under 1 µm wide (or 0.001 mm), is ion beam deposited platinum.

NPL says they used a nanomanipulation system to assemble the parts 'by hand' and platinum deposition to weld all elements together. Mr Snowman is mounted on a silicon cantilever from an atomic force microscope whose sharp tip 'feels' surfaces creating topographic surveys at almost atomic scales.

I thought this pretty neat when I first came across it but now that I've watched the video, I think I might be in love. Look at that sweet, nano-smile! And that music! Group hug, guys.

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  • -2 Hide
    Clintonio , 8 December 2009 20:11
    But it's not made out of snow?
  • 2 Hide
    LePhuronn , 8 December 2009 23:28
    Jane, I don't suppose you have a twin/clone do you? There's tech geek and then there's uber-geek falling in love with an atomic snowman - I want me a woman like that!
  • 1 Hide
    jamac666 , 9 December 2009 01:05
    What a lovely little fellow he is too!
  • 1 Hide
    Micropat , 9 December 2009 01:42
    Brought a smile to my face after a long rough day
  • 0 Hide
    cj_online , 9 December 2009 12:17
    wow that's some productive work right there...

    /sarcasm....
  • 0 Hide
    LePhuronn , 9 December 2009 15:57
    cj_onlinewow that's some productive work right there


    So you're 100% productive at your job 100% of the time? You never take a break or mess about to blow off some steam ever?

    An office worker makes a paper plane and it's "office behaviour", a particle physicist paints a smiley face on an atom it's suddenly not "productive"? How do you know they weren't testing a new ion beam and decided to do something light hearted as the test?
  • 0 Hide
    JMcEntegart , 9 December 2009 19:03
    LePhuronnJane, I don't suppose you have a twin/clone do you? There's tech geek and then there's uber-geek falling in love with an atomic snowman - I want me a woman like that!


    I actually do! We are identical but she's not geeky. She once had to call me to ask how to turn her computer on because she couldn't find the power button. She is a musical genius though. Don't know if that rocks your boat, at all.
  • 0 Hide
    LePhuronn , 9 December 2009 19:54
    JMcEntegartShe is a musical genius though. Don't know if that rocks your boat, at all.


    I'd prefer an equal to engage in discussion instead of gazing in wonderment and jealousy!
  • 0 Hide
    TegGhola , 11 December 2009 20:59
    The nanobots are at the gate! Humanity's time is near its end!!!

    To the beaches! The nanobot swarms may not be able to get us if we stay underwater!