Scientists have created a picture that only fleas could truly appreciate. That's because the inkjet-printed image takes up an area no larger than the cross-section of a human hair. The picture of a few clownfish in their sea anemone home measures just 80 µm x 115 µm for a total area of 0.0092 square mm.

Researchers from ETH Zurich University and the startup Scrona have been named the new holders of the Guinness World Record for the world's smallest inkjet color image, which they created using "3D Nanodrip" printing technology created at ETH Zurich.

The entire image can fit into a single pixel of a retina display and is invisible to the naked eye, requiring a special microscope to be viewed. The researchers claim they were able to achieve 24-bit color depth in the image thanks to quantum dots, which are nanoparticles that emit a specific color by having their size "tuned" very precisely. Similar technology can be used to create vivid colors in flat panel displays.

To create the image, the quantum dots were printed in red, green and blue layers at a resolution of 25,000 dots per inch.

Scrona is now hoping to commercialize the technology in future electronic and optical products, including displays. The company is offering to micro-print any image provided by backers of a Kickstarter campaign for a powerful pocket microscope that it is also launching.

Source: ETH Zurich

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