“To see a world in a grain of sand” – William Blake’s lyrical words take on a new meaning when you watch this video of IBM researchers demonstrating their new nanomill technology, which uses a tiny silicon tip to carve out objects and features as small as 15 nanometers. While it’s probably not going to revolutionize map-making, the nanomill can be used for numerous high-precision applications in electronics, optics, and medical research.
From the IBM press release, the demonstration includes a “Complete 3D map of the world measuring only 22 by 11 micrometers was “written” on a polymer. At this size, 1,000 world maps could fit on a grain of salt. In the relief, one thousand meters of altitude correspond to roughly eight nanometers (nm). It is composed of 500,000 pixels, each measuring 20 nm2, and was created in only 2 minutes and 23 seconds.”