UPDATE: The really amazing media coverage of this is: http://www.theonion.com/articles/scientists-create-microscopic-mona-lisa,33423/ The Onion! I’m very impressed.
My friend Jennifer Curtis at Georgia Tech has a paper out featuring a clever nanolithography technique, in which heating an atomic force microscope tip generates a temperature gradient that guides chemical reactions at a surface. Controlling the position and temperature of the tip, therefore, allows very fine spatial patterning of what’s at the surface. As a cute demonstration of this, they’ve drawn the world’s smallest Mona Lisa, which has gotten some nice press, including this short video at Slate:
As K. (8) points out: “Whoa — that’s really tiny!”