With a scale of 1 trillonth, a map of the world was etched on to a corner of an optical silicon chip by the Photonics Research Group of Ghent University-IMEC.
Using CMOS fabrication tools, IMEC has reduced the 40-thousand-kilometer circumference at the equator down to 40 micrometer, about half the width of a human hair. The map is put in a corner of a optical silicon chip designed for one of the group’s research projects on nanophotonic integrated circuits. The scale reduction enables more complex optical functions on a single chip for applications in telecommunication, high-speed computing, biotechnology and health-care. Noteworthy, the factor of 1 trillion corresponds to the scale prefix Tera (like in Terabyte), but in this situation it would be better to call it ‘Terra’-scale.
World Map Etched on a Tiny Silicon Chip – Wired Magazine
It’s a small world – Post from Photonics Research Group
World’s Smallest 3D Map
In a new announcement in the field of nanotechnology, IBM announced that they had created the world’s smallest 3D map, declaring that the map “of the earth so small that 1,000 of them could fit on one grain of salt“.
The scientists accomplished this through a new, breakthrough technique that uses a tiny, silicon tip with a sharp apex — 100,000 times smaller than a sharpened pencil — to create patterns and structures as small as 15 nanometers at greatly reduced cost and complexity.
The team of scientists at IBM demonstrated this technique with the creation of several 2D and 3D images including:
Complete 3D map of the world measuring only 22 by 11 micrometers was “written” on a polymer. At this size, 1,000 world maps could fit on a grain of salt. In the relief, one thousand meters of altitude correspond to roughly eight nanometers (nm). It is composed of 500,000 pixels, each measuring 20 nm2, and was created in only 2 minutes and 23 seconds.
Watch the video explaining the process.