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An achievement made last year by IBM scientists can’t really compare with the largest collection of Charlie’s Angels memorabilia (5,569 items), the most body piercings in one session (3,900) or the longest cucumber (47 inches), all Guinness World Records, but IBM’s nanotech experts have attained a Guinness record of their own. Their feat: creating the smallest 3D map of Earth.

The map, produced on a tiny sliver of polymer, measures just 22 by 11 micrometers. To put that into perspective, 1000 copies of the map could fit within a single grain of salt.

The Guinness World Record organization recognized the handiwork of IBM scientists in Zurich, Switzerland, and Almaden, Calif., in its new book, Guinness World Records 2012. (Officially they are no longer called the Guinness Book of World Records.)

Unlike many other Guinness participants, the scientists weren’t motivated by a desire for 15 minutes of pop-culture fame. Rather, they created their tiny map to demonstrate a breakthrough in the miniaturization of complex structures. They expect their techniques to open new prospects for developing nanoscale objects in a variety of fields including electronics, medicine, life sciences and opto-electronics.
How did the IBMers do it? They used a tiny silicon tip with a sharp point — 100,000 times smaller than a sharpened pencil — to create the miniature patterns. The etching technique is very similar to how the ancient Egyptian’s used chisels on stone to create drawings and hieroglyphics.

Since some members of the IBM team are avid mountaineers, they also created a 25-nanometer-high 3D replica of the Matterhorn.

True, neither the tiny Matterhorn nor the tiny Earth map compare for sheer weirdness with the record for the greatest distance traveled with a pool cue balanced on the chin (5,472 ft 9 in), but, heck, they’re pretty darn cool.

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Posted by: rajkumar
October 2, 2012
9:55 am

Wow, when scientists can model things in nanometers! I wish there were more pics of it, but I guess there aren’t many cameras that small.

Posted by: 3DModeling
June 11, 2012
8:24 pm

Are there any really practical applications that I might see in my home or at my job?

Posted by: mary
3 Trackbacks
April 25, 2014
9:30 am

[…] paper in the peer-reviewed journal of Science demonstrating the technique by designing a nano-sized map of the world and now in 2014 the research is coming to […]

Posted by: IBM, National Geographic Team to Create World's Smallest Magazine Cover « A Smarter Planet Blog A Smarter Planet Blog
December 13, 2013
2:20 am

[…] IBMの研究員がこの技術を用いて微小なパターンを作製したのは、これが初めてのことではありません。2010年に、20マイクロメートルのサイズの世界地図を作製しており、これは後にギネス世界記録に認定されました。 […]

Posted by: 日本とスイスの150年間の友好関係を称えるささやかな方法 | Smarter Software Japan
October 8, 2013
10:32 pm

[...] IBMの研究員がこの技術を用いて微小なパターンを作製したのは、これが初めてのことではありません。2010年に、20マイクロメートルのサイズの世界地図を作製しており、これは後にギネス世界記録に認定されました。 [...]

Posted by: 日本とスイスの150年間の友好関係を称えるささやかな方法 | A Smarter Planet (Japan)
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