chemistry

Periodic table printed on human hair

U. NOTTINGHAM (UK) — Scientists have written what they believe is the world’s smallest periodic table on the side of a human hair.

The table is so small that a million of them could be replicated on a typical post-it note.

Experts from the University’s Nottingham used a sophisticated combination of ion beam writer and electron microscope to carve the symbol of all 118 elements into the strand of hair.

The team also used the same nano-writing technique to engrave the words “Merry Christmas” on a snowflake.

(Watch how they did it in the two videos below.)

“Although writing on a snowflake is on one hand a bit of seasonal fun, it’s also a neat demonstration of the powerful capabilities of the tools that scientists use in the lab on a day-to-day basis,” says physics professor Philip Moriarty.

The strand of hair used to create the periodic table was taken from the head of professor Martyn Poliakoff, an expert in green chemistry. His colleagues gave him the printed strand as a birthday present.

“Although the application was lighthearted I felt that it enabled us to show people how such nano writing is done,” says Poliakoff.

More news from the University of Nottingham: www.nottingham.ac.uk/news

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