Research Magazine- Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science - The University of Texas at Dallas

Flag on the Brink

In Dr. Moon Kim’s Nano and Beyond lab, scientists are looking through their microscopes with an artistic eye. Combining imagination with research, Kim, professor of materials science and engineering and holder of the Louis Beecherl Jr. Distinguished Chair, has inspired a different kind of creation.

Nano Art is a discipline that discovers and accentuates the artistic beauty of microscopic-sized works of art. An instrument such as an electron microscope or scanning probe microscope is used to capture the magnified images of these nanostructures.

That tiny shape in the middle of the picture is a nano-sized flag, which is so small that simply breathing would blow it away.

“This piece is the result of very skillful manipulation — great precision was required to compose all the microscopic elements,” said Kim who also holds an appointment in the arts and technology program.

American Flag

The singular flag stands precariously on the edge, barely remaining aloft. The flag is made from silicon, the stars and stripes are platinum, and the flagpole is a carbon nanotube. The flag itself is about 8 micrometers wide and 5 micrometers high.

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