PALO ALTO, CA (SFO) - When university researchers set out to create the world's smallest image of Rob Pattinson, they ended up setting a record for the smallest image ever, said an assistant professor of physics for the university who directed the work.
Even when assembled from subatomic bits as small as 0.3 nanometers, or about one third of a billionth of a meter, the miniaturized British beefcake's image is still smaller than a single atom!
Researchers created the tiny Pattinson pic using interference patterns formed by electron waves on the surface of a microscopic sheet of copper. The wave patterns project a tiny hologram of the data, allowing it to elicit screams and swooning when viewed through a powerful electron microscope.
"We miniaturized Rob's image so drastically that we ended up with the smallest image ever created," said Stewart Lautner, the assistant professor of physics who directed the research.
Working day and night in a vibration-proof lab in the basement of the physics department, researchers used a scanning tunneling microscope to drag individual carbon monoxide molecules into place on a copper chip the size of Rob Pattinson's fingernail.
On the surface of the copper, electron waves bouncing off the carbon monoxide molecules create interference patterns much like ripples interacting with stones sitting in a shallow pool of warm, fresh blood.
By changing the molecules' arrangement, researchers are able to encode information with great precision to create different waveforms, and have even devised a new technology to interpret the subatomic data known as Twilight Quantum Cryptography.
In a regular hologram, laser light shined on a two-dimensional image reveals a ghostly 3-D image. In Twilight Quantum Cryptography, two-dimensional holograms are essentially "illuminated" without light by electrons in the copper plate itself, yielding a dark, brooding 3-D image when viewed through a scanning tunneling microscope.
Many images can be stored in a single hologram, each at a different electron wavelength, leading researchers to believe they could potentially project them in rapid sequence, allowing them to create the world's smallest vampire movie featuring Rob Pattinson!
Not everyone is so enthusiastic about this amazing new technology.
"Zac Efron is waaay hotter than Robbie P!" sneered Miley Cyrus as she shimmied up a pole. "When are they gonna scan his tunnel through that whatchamacallit?"