November 24, 2011. — Some people might be suffering from QR fatigue, but CRANN believes that they have just created the smallest QR code in the world! The image was unveiled today at the launch of Science Gallery’s 2012 programme. CRANN will partner with Science Gallery for the “NANOLAB” exhibition in September 2012.
Each cell in this QR code is just 1 millionth of a metre wide, and CRANN thinks it might be the smallest in the world! The QR Code was patterned with a Focused Ion Beam microscope [FIB], in the institute’s Advanced Microscopy Laboratory (AML). The FIB acts like an atomic power hose, capable of sputtering away material, like a sculptor working with a chisel. The QR code was then imaged with electrons using the same FIB.
The QR code was patterned into a layer of material, or a “thin film” called a magnetic tunnel junction. The films consists of a stack of many layers, mostly metals, some as thin as only 3 atoms! Scientists at CRANN pattern these thin films to investigate future data storage and logic processing technologies. This type of research will lead to smaller, lighter, consumer electronics, and to new types of non-volatile memory that retain information, after the computer is shut down, or the power supply is cut off.
Visitors will have the chance to explore how cutting edge developments in nanotechnology could transform everything from electronics to medicine and clothing at ‘NANOLAB’ in September 2012 – part of the Science Gallery’s 2012 programme. CRANN will work with other partners in NanoNet Ireland to bring this exhibition to fruition and in coordinating Nanoweek, which will run from 17th – 21st September at the beginning of the ‘NANOLAB’ exhibition.
Nanotechnology offers unimagined potential for Ireland. The aim of ‘NANOLAB’ and Nanoweek is to bring this sense of excitement to the Irish public, and to increase awareness of the world-leading research and infrastructure in institutes like CRANN that is driving developments in nanotechnology. CRANN’s FIB is one of the most advanced in Europe and has an imaging resolution of less than 3 nanometres, approximately 30,000 times smaller than the width of one human hair. The world-class infrastructure at CRANN has enriched the quality of nanoscience research, enabling Ireland to be ranked 6th in the world for quality of this type of research, as well as allowing the Institute to continue to attract and work with multinational companies like Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Merck Millipore among others.
2012 is a big year for Science Gallery. Dublin will take up its tenure as European City of Science 2012, host over 5,000 scientists as part of Euroscience Open Forum, and will welcome their millionth visitor since opening in 2008. In addition to NANOLAB, they have an exciting line-up of exhibitions, events and workshops planned.
About NanoNet Ireland
Nanoweek is organised by NanoNet Ireland which combines two consortia: INSPIRE, funded by the HEA, is comprised of internationally leading researchers across ten third level institutions and coordinated by CRANN (TCD), the SFI funded Centre for Science, Engineering and Technology. The INSPIRE members are: MSSI, University of Limerick; Focas Institute, DIT; NCPST and RINCE, DCU; LightHOUSE, NUI Galway; Cork Institute of Technology; CNBI, UCD; Tyndall, UCC and CRANN, TCD. The Competence Centre for Applied Nanotechnology (CCAN), funded by EI and the IDA, includes both leading multi-national companies such as Intel, and indigenous Irish companies like Aerogen. CCAN is co-hosted by the Tyndall National Institute at UCC and CRANN.
Source: CRANN – Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices
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