Worlds Smallest House Isnt Visible to the Naked Eye

first_img The tiny house movement (no doubt spurred by HGTV) advocates simple living in small homes—typically no larger than 500 square feet.But that is colossal compared to the 300-by-300 micrometer abode too teeny for even a mite to fit through the door.A nanorobotics team from the Femto-ST Institute in Besançon, France, demonstrated their µRobotex nanofactory by assembling the world’s smallest house.AdChoices广告Constructed inside a vacuum chamber, the Lilliputian home is a true feat of engineering.The almost surgical process uses a focused ion beam like scissors to cut the silica membrane; a gas injection system then sticks the edges of the structure into place.“For the first time we were able to realize patterning and assembly with less than 2 nanometers of accuracy,” team member Jean-Yves Rauch said in a statement, calling this “a very important result for the robotics and optical community.”A researcher at the Femto-ST Institute in France assembles microrobotic systems using new optical nanotechnologies (via Femto-ST Institute)“We decided to build the microhouse on the fiber,” he continued, “to show that we are able to realize these microsystem assemblies on top of an optical fiber with high accuracy.”Emphasizing the accuracy and flexibility of their system, the architects used a low-power ion beam and gas injection to “gently sputter” a tiled pattern on the micrometer-sized roof.“It’s very challenging to pilot the robot with high accuracy at this cross between the two beams,” Rauch explained, adding that two engineers worked at multiple computers to control the process.While many steps are already automated, the team hopes to eventually robotize all stages of assembly.Riding high on the success of their microhouse, engineers are currently using the µRobotex nanofactory to construct functionalized microstructures, which can be attached to optical fibers as thin as human hair.This technology opens the door to various possibilities, including drug delivery, disease targeting, and data storage. The researchers are already eyeing even more petite structures some 20 to 100 nanometers in diameter—small enough to fit inside the windows of their already minuscule house.Read more about the world’s tiniest home in the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A. Stay on target Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img

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