Wednesday, February 18, 2009

JJNN: Nano pyramids

Welcome again to JJNN for February 18th, 2009. Today I will be talking about very small pyramids.

There is something cool about tiny things. In this day and age products sell better or news stories are read more if they contain the word "nano". So, what exactly is nano all about? It stands for one billionth of something. It could be anything from a nanosecond to a nanometer. Either way it is a very tiny thing. This is also where we get the term nano-machines. It just means a really really really small machine.

So, according to this article, a Japanese group was able to produce the first pyramids on the nano scale. They came up with an interesting way of making these things. First they make a solution that is made up of silver ions. A near infrared laser is than shown into the solution and the silver solidifies because of laser light. The team is making tiny pyramids that measure 1/500 of a millimeter with this process. The team uses a surfactant to make a the pyramids hollow inside. You can see a picture of these pyramids below.

What make these little pyramids amazing is the fact that they turn out in the shape the researchers want them to turn out in. Constructions that small have been made before, but they always turn out irregular. Now that these things can be produced in a regular way they can be used in integrated circuit technology and on the medical front. It will be interesting to see how these things will be used in the future.

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