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.
Follow us on Twitter for more tech news and exclusive updates here.