Saturday, October 27, 2007
Talk about hi-res!
IBM, along with ETH Zurich (a Swiss research lab), recently announced the development of a technology called nano printing. (The original of the much-enlarged image on the left was created by putting down 20,000 gold particles, each about 60 nanometers in diameter.) The researchers came up with a technology that can lay down dots at a resolution of 100,000dpi, using dots of about 60 nanometers in width, a little higher solution than your standard 600dpi or 1,200dpi office printers. Now, this not something that is going into your office. It is clearly intended for creating tiny impressions on optical; chips or wires on tiny devices like biosensors. It could be the way in which semiconductors designers can put even more information on silicon. I like to imagine spies encoding vast databases on a Post-It note. This isn’t going to affect how you print your next memo, but advances in technology have a tendency to migrate both uphill and downhill. Office printers have improved over recent years due to increased accuracy in placing toner and ink, and the IBM breakthrough shows that accuracy can be taken to the ultimate degree.