Sunday, May 22, 2016


Nanotechnology is the domain where science and technology are conducted at the nanoscale, where materials have dimensions from 1 to 100 nanometers. And by comparing them to a single hair, which is roughly 80,000 nanometers wide, we should now have a rough concept of how tiny it is. What is worth mentioning is that, nanoscale objects are not only too small for human eyes to see, but also too small for even the fanciest cameras to photograph. Only devices like scanning electron microscopes can get nanoscale images. Furthermore, since nanoscale objects are smaller than the wavelengths of visible light, the electron images that capture them are in grey.  So in order to introduce nanoscale objects and their advances in synthesis and manipulation to wider audience, NanoArt was created.

NanoArt has three important components, creating the nano sculpture(artificial manipulation) or discovering the nano landscape(natural, mostly biological),  visualizing the nanostructure, and eventually artistically interpret it using different techniques such as digital painting, shape-lifting, and layering.

The picture on the left is called "Light Through a Pinhole No.2". It is a piece of nano artwork created by Cris Orfescu. It is a nano sculpture created by freezing a tiny drop of colloidal graphite (graphite nanoparticles suspended in a liquid) in liquid nitrogen at about 196 degrees below zero, visualized with a scanning electron microscope, captured in a computer, and digitally painted and manipulated.

And below is another NanoArt image called "Nano-explosions". It is created by Fanny Beron, an artist from Montréal, Canada. It is a color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph of an overflowed electro-deposited magnetic nanowire array (CoFeB), where the template has been subsequently completely etched. It is meant as a reminder that nanoscale research can have unpredicted consequences at a high level.

And next, I would like to introduce the world's smallest movie, A Boy and His Atom.  It is a one-minute stop-motion animated film created by IBM research. It was recorded frame by frame using scanning tunneling microscope. It tells the story of a boy and an atom who meet and become friends. The "actors" are in fact carbon monoxide molecules. The scientists who made the film are moving atoms to explore the limits of data storage. Today, as data creation and consumption gets bigger and bigger, we have to shrink our data storage down to atomic level. And this team is starting from the smallest scale, single atoms, and build structures up from there. IBM has already announced that they can store a single bit of information in just 12 atoms. 


 Feder, Barnaby J. "The Art of Nanotech." Bits. The New York Times, 25 Jan. 2008. Web. 22 May 2016.

Orfescu, Cris. "NanoArt." NanoArt. EMarketing 21. Web. 22 May 2016.

"Art at the Molecular Level." WSJ. The Wall Street Journal, 12 Sept. 2014. Web. 22 May 2016.

 "Introduction to Nanotechnology – Images." Nanowerk. Web. 22 May 2016.

 " A Boy And His Atom: The World's Smallest Movie." IBM Research: A Boy And His Atom. IBM. Web. 23 May 2016. 

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