In the popular Disney Pixar movie Finding Nemo, the clownfish is notorious for being a tiny creature, seemingly lost in the vastness of the ocean. Scientifically speaking, the clownfish, or anemonefish, is indeed a small creature, and can be as tiny as 10 centimeters long.
But as of December 12, researchers at ETCH Zurich and Scrona Ltd. have created the smallest inject-printed color image of the anemone fish, depicting the creature as tiny as a cross-sectional area of human hair. The image is so small, in fact, that the scientists have set a Guinness World Record.
The printed images measures up to an almost negligible 0.00092 mm2 in area. According to a news release by ETH Zurich, the image isn’t even visible to the naked eye — witnesses had to use a special microscope in order to view the miniscule photo
The creation of this record breaking, microscopic image called for far more than your standard inkjet printer. Rather, the team of researchers used state-of-the-art 3D NanoDrip printing technology — an innovation created at ETH Zurich. In order to capture a realistic color quality, quantum dots were used.
By definition, quantum dots are nanoparticles that emit a specific color of light. By tuning the side of the quantum dots, the color of light can be manipulated by engineers. These dots are notorious for their color intensity, and for this reason are often used in flat panel displays.
In our snap-happy society, pictures are taken — and in turn printed — every single second of the day. In fact, 10% of the photos ever taken were taken within the last 12 months. But up until now, it was virtually impossible to print a photo utilizing nanostructured materials with this level of accuracy.
This achievement is promising for the electronics and optics industry, as it suggests that there are many ways to use these materials for display screens.