IBM Creates The Smallest Piece of Artwork Ever!

Dennis Faas's picture

The smallest piece of artwork ever made has finally been unveiled to the world.  It's an image of the sun made from 20,000 microscopic particles of gold, and what is most unique about the creation is that it was done without the presence of an artist. (Source:

IBM researchers are taking credit for the piece that used ultra-miniature sensors, lenses and wires inside of nanoscale circuits. The image of the sun was etched on a silicon chip "wafer" using a special technique that manipulated each gold particle which measured just 60 nanometers in diameter. In proportion, a nanometer is 60 billionths of a meter, while a string of human hair measures about 80,000 nanometers wide. (Source:

The technology is not expected to be simply used for the creation of beautiful artwork. IBM scientists have continually been working to improve the performance levels of many popular electronic devices.

While technology utilizing only 60 nanometers of particles seems impressive, microprocessors are already on the market that have components measuring smaller than 60 nanometers. Remember that IBM is the same company that once spelled out their corporate name using individual atoms during a public demonstration of their micro-processing capabilities. (Source:

This new research is different than the manipulation of single atoms because the tiny particles used to create the image of the sun were controlled using a method that could be reproduced into other nano-scale projects. This means that soon features could be implemented as small as 2 nanometers. This new technology would also allow IBM scientists to control the placement of nanowires for high-performance transistors in molecular-scale chips.

The voyage into the world of extra-small particles has led to a nanotech race between IBM and other rival companies. Earlier this year, IBM rival Hewlett-Packard created technology that could be used to build prototype circuits whose wires were just 15 nanometers wide. This technology involves a process called nano imprint lithography, which is a way of stamping out patterns of wires less than 50 atoms wide. (Source:

IBM fired back at this by developing a method for encoding data onto individual atoms.

Analysts are uncertain if and when the nanotech race will end, but competition will equal interesting products supplied by all participants in the years to come.

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