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Nanotech goes arty

Caltech scientist Sameer Walavalkar just emailed me about his latest project. It’s a cultural meeting of science and art on the nanoscale. This is what he had to say:

“I’m a physicist and work on creating silicon nanostructures. As part of my work I figured out how to use one of our fabrication machines to make customized nanoetchings for people. I can take any picture, text or portrait and carve it into a variety of materials, from silicon to sapphire. As a scientist I’m used to seeing things at this size scale but I thought this would be a cool way to introduce people to the world that I work in every day.”

Walavalkar has started a kickstarter project here and shows several examples of his nano sci-art that have been carved next to objects that we are familiar with (you can see the iconic Obama campaign poster next to a grain of salt or Seurat’s Le Grande Jatte next to my eyelash and many more in the video).

“I thought this project was a great blend of science, technology and art as I take the etched chip and (depending on the material and finish of the chip) mount it in a unique frame along with a high resolution scanning electron image of the etching.”

Walavalkar offered to create an “etching” for Sciencebase, so I sent him a copy of our logo, which is an 18-crown-6 complex, which I first used as an icon for my early Elemental Discoveries website back in 1995/6. Here’s the result it has to be the smallest website favicon.ico icon file ever! The logo is just 50 micrometres across or thereabouts shown here in a scanning electron micrograph next to the corner of a grain of sugar.

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