Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Week 8 - Nanotech + Art

            This week’s lectures focused on the connection between nanotechnology and art. Perfectly stated by Jim Gimzewski and Victoria Vesna, “In both the philosophical and visual sense, ‘seeing is believing’ does not apply to nanotechnology, for there is nothing even remotely visible to create proof of existence” (Gimzewski and Vesna). Nanotechnologies are reinventing how science works and it has the power to change the world, yet it is invisible to the naked eye. It is amazing how something so miniscule could be the most powerful tool in the world.

The Making of the Circular Corral: Iron on Copper (111)

Quantum Corral: Iron on Copper (111)

            Nanotechnology would be impossible without the collaboration between artists and scientists. A great example is the Quantum Corrals by Don Eigler and coworkers. The Scanning Tunneling Microscope’s (STM) “ability to image variations in the density distribution of surface state electrons created in the artists a compulsion to have complete control of not only the atomic landscape, but the electronic landscape also” (Crommie, Lutz and Eigler). These corrals are not just inanimate art pieces, but they actually have nanoscale happenings inside them. “The artists were delighted to discover that they could predict what goes on in the corral by solving the classic eigenvalue problem in quantum mechanics” (Crommie, Lutz and Eigler). These artists and scientists created “corrals” using quantum states of electrons and positioning them into different density distributions. In addition to creating the general shapes of the different corrals, Eigler, Crommie, and Lutz also play with different lighting conditions, the point of view, and the different colors to fit the purpose of the image. So, these Quantum Corrals not only incorporate the skills and knowledge of a long-time scientist, but the intricate, detailed care and thought process of an artist to produce and design their vision. This is a great example of one of the many ways scientists are using art to create different structures on the nanoscale level.
             Similar to the creation of the Quantum Corrals, scientists and artists are constantly working together with nanotechnologies to create medicine, adhesives, glass, concrete, clothing, etc. Nanotechnology is a field with much more to discover, invent, and create, so I am sure that in the near future things will be possible that we never thought would be.

"Power of Nanotechnology"


Crommie, M. F., C. P. Lutz, and D. M. Eigler. "Confinement of Electrons to Quantum Corrals on a Metal Surface." Science ns 262.5131 (1993): 218-20. JSTOR
          American Association for the Advancement of Science, 08 Oct. 1993. Web. 16 May 2016. <http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0036-

Eigler, Don. "Capturing Quantum Corrals." Interview by Felice Frankel. American Scientist. Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, n.d. Web. 17 May 2016.

Eigler, Don, Michael Crommie, and C. P. Lutz. " STM Image Gallery." IBM Research. IBM, n.d. Web. 17 May 2016. 

Gimzewski, Jim, and Victoria Vespa. "The Nanomeme Syndrome: Blurring of Fact & Fiction in the Construction of a New Science." N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May 2016. 

"Nano Education." NanoArt 21. NanoArt 21, n.d. Web. 16 May 2016. <http://nanoart21.org/blog/>.

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