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ETH Zurich World record set for smallest printed colour image

Shrinking Nemo: Live clownfish measure about ten centimetres long, but their printed representations in the record-breaking image are about 3,333 times smaller than that.

(Scrona/ETH Zurich)

Researchers at the Swiss federal technology institute ETH Zurich have broken a world record with their minuscule colour image of clownfish, which is no bigger than a cross-section of a human hair.

The shot of three fish in their anemone home measures 0.0092 millimetres squared – about the size of a single pixel on a retina computer display – setting a Guinness World Record. Official witnesses had to use a special microscope to see the image.

The researchers created the image using quantum dot (QD) technology. QDs are nanoparticles that emit light of a certain wavelength; the size of the dots can be adjusted to alter the colour they produce. QD technology is commonly used in flat-panel monitor displays, for example in televisions and computers.

To create the record-breaking scene, researchers from ETHZ and Scrona, an ETHZ spin-off start-up company, deposited layers of red, green and blue quantum dots into pixels. It is the first time that it has been possible to control the location of the QDs in each pixel with such precision – to within a fraction of a nanometre (one billionth of a metre).

The researchers hope their achievement will pave the way for future advanced applications of nanomaterials in optics and displays. and agencies

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