A tiny house can be great for people looking for a cheap home or a lower environmental footprint. The tinier the better, according to some. But there’s one tiny house that’s unlikely to ever see a single resident: This microscopic home, fit no one but a microbe.
A group of researchers built this tiny home out of extremely tiny membranes of silica. These membranes were carved, etched, and painstakingly assembled by the researchers using an electron microscope. The end result is a structure that stands a little over a hundredth of a millimeter tall. It’s exactly 15 micrometers high, to be precise. The smallest of amoebas might be able to cram themselves in, with a diameter of just a few micrometers themselves. Smaller viruses, on the other hand, can be as tiny as 20 nanometers or .02 micrometers, and would likely find this place to be a palace, should one manage to wonder into it.
Though this microscopic house will never find a tenant, building it shows that this technology can be put to use on more practical projects. The researchers suggest that their techniques could be used to build all kinds of tiny electronic components, like nanoantennas and sensors that could go inside the human body.
We’re still a long way from manufactured nanomachines, but this tiny house proves such technology is possible. Perhaps in a few decades, we’ll have tiny manufactured devices and structures all over the place, thanks to some industrious electron microscopes.
Source: Chemistry and Engineering News