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Science Technology

Low-Cost Micromachine Writes Calligraphy With Atoms 40

ckwu writes "Scientists at Boston University have put together an inexpensive microelectromechanical machine that can direct atoms onto a surface in a controlled manner (abstract). The device—which acts as a moving stencil—can lay down such precise, complex patterns that the technique is akin to writing with atoms, the researchers say. They've used the machine to draw rings and infinity symbols out of gold atoms, but the technique should be compatible with almost any material."
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Low-Cost Micromachine Writes Calligraphy With Atoms

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  • Re:Picotechnology (Score:4, Informative)

    by Blaskowicz ( 634489 ) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @05:52PM (#44182445)

    If it takes one second to print a square nanometer, then printing a whole square meter will take 10^18 seconds, that's more than 3x 10^8 years which is 300 million years. Then you need many, many layers to make e.g. a thin crust pizza.

    Of course, maybe it can be faster, maybe you can use ten thousands nanoprinters/picoprinters in parallel or more but that's the main objection I have for now about printing macro objects on the nano scale. I do realize the existence of regular food means the concept isn't totally unworkable, it gives an indication of the "scale up" factor as well. How many millions, billions or trillions of cells are involved in making a grain of rice or an egg?, I have no clearly accurate idea.

Never let someone who says it cannot be done interrupt the person who is doing it.

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