Friday, January 12, 2007


LiveScience reports: [edited]

Korean researchers have crafted a 20 millionths of a meter high version of Rodin's famed sculpture The Thinker. That's only twice the size of a red blood cell (and 93,000 times smaller than the original).

For more than a decade, researchers worldwide have experimented with lasers to fabricate elaborate 3D creations. They start with a resin that hardens when exposed to certain frequencies of light. Using overlapping beams of lasers, they solidify a sculpture with details measuring less than a wavelength of visible light.

While the skins of these sculptures are hard, their innards remain soft. This leaves them vulnerable to surface tension, the same force that causes water to bead up into droplets. The surface tension of the fluid in which the sculptures are immersed can cause them to deform.

To solve this problem mechanical engineer Dong-Yol Yang at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Daejeon, South Korea, and his colleagues use multiple laser beams focused at and below each spot on the surface of the sculpture.

The new technique could help develop biosensors and other complicated microscopic devices.

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