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Northwestern University
Map of the world made on a nanoscaleleft

Breakthrough: Nanotechnology

Viewed through a microscope, this map of the world is actually a mosaic of individual chemical formulae made up of nanoscale points. Produced in Professor Chad Mirkin’s lab, it is the first image created by a scanning probe instrument at nanoscale resolution that is large enough to see with the naked eye.

Nanotechnology pioneer Chad Mirkin and his team are developing a tool capable of producing working devices and structures at the nanoscale level in a matter of hours, right at the point of use. It will be the nano­fabrication equivalent of a desktop printer.

Until now, most nanofabrication has taken place in centralized, multibillion-dollar ­facilities. This revolutionary new tool is poised to allow researchers to prototype a diverse range of functional structures, from gene chips to protein arrays to electronic circuits. The device may be commercially available in as little as two years.

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