Scientists have reproduced Monet's ''Impression Sunrise'' using a new method of nano-printing. At 300 micrometers in size, about the width of two strands of hair, the mini masterpiece is the smallest work of art in the world. Ben Gruber reports.
STORY: This is the latest reproduction of Claude Monet's masterpiece "Impression Sunrise" ….to appreciate it....you need an extremely powerful microscope. The tiny work of art can fit on the end of a pin, making it the smallest painting on the planet. Researcher Joel Yang and his team at the Singapore University of Technology printed patterns of silicone nanostructures that vary in size. Yang says that when light hits these structures, which are topped with metal, the electrons on the surface oscillate to produce and reflect different colours. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ENGINEERING PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANT PROFESSOR AT SINGAPORE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY AND DESIGN, JOEL YANG SAYING: "So metal nanostructures would scatter light of different wavelengths depending on the size. So by controlling the size and patterning structures of different sizes, we are able to use that to achieve a whole range of colours and that can be done without the use of dyes. Instead, we use metals, such as aluminium, silver and gold. What's new about the work that we are presenting here is that, we switched from the use of silver and gold, which are a lot more expensive, to the use of aluminium, which is a thousand times cheaper and more abundant." And the use of aluminium, says Yang, is the real masterpiece in this research. He says the tiny structures could be used to store data in a much smaller space and at a fraction of the cost of current data storage technology. Yang says their successful reproduction of the complex colour schemes in Monet's art prove the technology works. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ENGINEERING PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANT PROFESSOR AT SINGAPORE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY AND DESIGN, JOEL YANG SAYING: "It turns out to be a very good test image, to show that we have control of the kind of colours that we can achieve with this method. If we chose, instead, a cartoon image that has two colours that are vastly different, then that's not as challenging as recreating something such as the Monet, with all the subtle hues and slight differences in tones." The original painting is credited with giving rise to the name of the Impressionist Era. Yang and his team hope their tiny version has just as big an impact in the world of nanotechnology.