How scientists created the teensiest way to say I love you

Scientists from the University of Birmingham's Nanoscale Physics Research Laboratory have created the teensiest heart in the world — one that can't be seen by the naked eye. The nano-size valentine is made out of gold and palladium atoms on a thin film of carbon that are so tiny you need a microscope to see them.
The nano-size heart is made up of palladium and gold atoms, and can only be seen through an electron microscop.

In fact, not even optical microscopes (the types you see kids commonly use in schools) work. To photograph the hearts you see above, the researchers had to use an electron microscope that can magnify objects up to two million times their size. In comparison, optical microscopes can only magnify particles from 1,000 to 2,000 times. The small glowing bumps making up the heart are actually heated palladium and gold particles.

This is the second time scientists from the university created a nano-size heart, the first one being back in 2010. According to lead researcher Dr. Ziyou Li, the techniques used to create the tiniest valentine in the world could one day be used for other scientific applications, as well as for the creation of optical devices.
[Image credit: University of Birmingham, Nanoscale Physics Research Laboratory]
This article was written by Mariella Moon and originally appeared on Tecca

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