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article imageResearcher created the world's smallest snowman

By Arthur Weinreb     Dec 23, 2016 in Science
London - Of course it is not really a man. And it is not even made of snow. But what is being referred to as the “world’s smallest snowman” is so tiny it can only been seen through an electron microscope.
The snowman was the creation of Dr. Todd Simpson and other researchers at the University of Western Ontario in London. Simpson is with the university’s Nanofabrication Facility and created the snowman to illustrate what the group does.
The body of the snowman was made from three .9-micron silica spheres placed one on top of another. The arms and nose were constructed of platinum and the snowman’s eyes and mouth were carved by an ion beam using a Focused Ion Beam, a relatively new piece of equipment. Micron silica is a mineral found in the human body as well as in materials such as sand and quartz.
So how small is it? It is about three microns tall. By comparison, one strand of human hair is 75 microns thick and the snowman is about half the size of a red blood cell. It is estimated the smallest grains of sand are about 60 microns.
Simpson created the three silica spheres in 2005. This year he decided to make a complete snowman and use the picture as a Christmas card. After positioning the silica spheres it only took him a matter of seconds to add the arms and nose and create the eyes and mouth.
By comparison, the Toronto Sun reports, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the world’s largest snowman (actually a snowwoman) is 37 metres tall. Only slightly smaller than the Statue of Liberty, this snowwoman was located in Bethel, Maine. Unlike Simpson’s tiny snowman, this one was really made of snow. Built in 2008, it took a month to make and required almost seven million kilograms of snow.
More about world's smallest snowman, silica, Micron, Ions, Electron microscope
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