In 2012, IBM scientists created a complete 3D map of the world, measuring only 22 by 11 micrometers. (A micrometer—µm—is a millionth of a meter.) The map was "written" on a polymer by manipulating the sophisticated silicon tip of a powerful microscope. At this size, 1,000 world maps could fit on a grain of salt! In the relief, 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) of altitude correspond to roughly 8 nanometers. (A nanometer—nm—is a billionth of a meter.) The map is composed of 500,000 pixels, each measuring 20 square nanometers, and was created in only 2 minutes and 23 seconds.

IBM Research - Zurich, image courtesy Advanced Materials

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nanotechnology Encyclopedic Entry

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Nanotechnology is the study and manipulation of individual atoms and molecules.