The world’s smallest periodic table



By John Roach

Engineers have inscribed the periodic table on a shaft of hair snipped from the frizzy mop of Nottingham University’s Martyn Poliakoff. The feat was accomplished using a gallium ion beam in a scanning electron microscope to knock off tiny flakes of the chemist’s hair shaft, etching in the abbreviations for the 118 elements.

The table measures 89.67 microns across and 46.39 microns from the top of helium all the way to the bottom of lawrencium, small enough to fit a million of them onto a Post-it note, the chemistry professor notes in the video above. While a cool feat in and of itself, the video accomplishes the goal of illustrating how nanowriting is done. Check it out.

More chemistry in the spotlight:

* Harry Potter and the Periodic Table * Chemistry you can dance to * Chemistry steps out of the shadows * The 2011 Weird Science Awards

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John Roach is a contributing writer for Connect with the Cosmic Log community by hitting the “like” button on the Cosmic Log Facebook page or following’s science editor, Alan Boyle, on Twitter (@b0yle).


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