Nanoscale snowman

Simon sez, "David Cox at the UK National Physical Laboratory has created this snowman, which is ~20µm high."

The snowman was made from two tin beads used to calibrate electron microscope astigmatism. The 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.

A nanomanipulation system was used to assemble the parts 'by hand' and platinum deposition was used to weld all elements together. The snowman is mounted on a silicon cantilever from an atomic force microscope whose sharp tip 'feels' surfaces creating topographic surveys at almost atomic scales.

Christmas 2009 : Educate + Explore : National Physical Laboratory (Thanks, Simon!)