World's tiniest gingerbread house created

Editorial

Rebecca Pool

Friday, December 20, 2019 - 11:45
Image: Only microns in size, the gingerbread house was created at McMaster University, Canada.
 
Using a focused ion beam microscope, a Canada-based researcher has created a gingerbread house, only a few microns in size, from silicon, resting on a winking snowman.
 
The winking snowman and gingerbread house etched using FIB. [McMaster University]
 
Travis Casagrande from the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy at McMaster University carved the two richly detailed decorations with a beam of charged gallium ions.
 
Silicon gingerbread house only a few microns in size. [McMaster University]
 
Casagrande hopes the holiday project will stir scientific curiosity among the public and let other researchers see what the centre is capable of doing.
 
“I think projects like this create science curiosity,” Casagrande says. “I think for both children and adults, it’s important to be curious about science. Looking into how this was made leads to more interest in science, and that builds more science literacy, which allows everyone to make better decisions.”
 
The house includes sharply defined bricks and trim and a Canada flag for a welcome mat.
 
Canadian flag etched into a penny [McMaster University] 
 
Casagrande also drew national attention in 2017 when he used the same equipment to carve a tiny Canadian flag flying from a pole, all set inside an almost imperceptible hole in the back of a penny.
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