The world's smallest guitar -- carved out of crystalline silicon and no larger than a single cell -- has been made at Cornell University to demonstrate a new technology that could have a variety of uses in fiber optics, displays, sensors and electronics.
The "nanoguitar" -- made for fun to illustrate the technology -- is just one of several structures that Cornell researchers believe are the world's smallest silicon mechanical devices. Researchers made these devices at the Cornell Nanofabrication Facility, bringing microelectromechanical devices, or MEMS, to a new, even smaller scale -- the nano-sized world.
The guitar has six strings, each string about 50 nanometers wide, the width of about 100 atoms. If plucked -- by an atomic force microscope, for example -- the strings would resonate, but at inaudible frequencies. The entire structure is about 10 micrometers long, about the size of a single blood cell.
The scanning electron microscope photo of the guitar won the award for best scanning electron micrograph at the 41st Electron, Ion and Photon Beam Technology and Nanofabrication Conference in Dana Point, California.