Width of this painting: Three strands of hair

Width of this painting: Three strands of hair
A micro painting of French impressionist painter Claude Monet’s Impression, Sunrise, measuring 300 by 250 microns.

Scientists in Singapore researching a new colour printing technique have created a mini Monet - a painting measuring just three times the width of a strand of human hair.

Researchers looking into the field of plasmonics - how light behaves - used aluminium as a nano-metal to reproduce French impressionist painter Claude Monet's Impression, Sunrise, measuring 300 by 250 microns.

Usually, plasmonic colour printing is done using gold or silver but using aluminium - the third-most abundant element on Earth - is way cheaper, about one-thousandth of the usual cost.

The painting was printed at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research's (A*Star) Institute of Materials Research and Engineering. The project was a collaboration between the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), the National University of Singapore and A*Star, and was led by SUTD's Assistant Professor Joel Yang. Their research has practical applications in digital printing, data storage and security tagging.

This article was first published on July 11, 2014.
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