Nano Art will make and market customized pieces, in a variety of materials, featuring etchings smaller than a grain of salt.
Project re-launch under the title "Nano Art: Reloaded" I've learned a lot from backer feedback and I've made changes that I hope you all will like! Here it is: Nano Art: Reloaded
I'm working on a new type of art-- sets of customized etchings at the nano-scale. I'm hoping to use Kickstarter to get my work out there and seen by as many people as possible! I'm not an artist by training or profession and I'm not focused on exhibiting my art, rather I want to make art for you to keep, display or give as a gift. Kickstarter gives me the opportunity to offer you these personalized pieces basically at cost (ie without markups) with the money acting as a seed to launch this idea! How cool is that?
These pieces are made to order, come in beautiful frames chosen to fit the piece, they look awesome on the wall, and are great conversation pieces! Interested? Read on about me and my project...
First, a little about myself. I'm a post-doctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena , California, working in the field of Nanotechnology. (I graduated with my PhD in applied physics in June of 2011. My doctoral thesis was titled "Optical, Mechanical, and Electronic Properties of Etched Silicon Nanopillars.") You can find it here: My Thesis. Under an electron microscope, I create tiny etchings that have practical applications in engineering and medicine. Want to see me going to work? Check out the video below!
One day it occurred to me that a type of art could also be created in my lab..."Nano-Art." A gallium atom would be my pencil or paint, and a minuscule chip of silicon my canvas. On a whim, I replicated 3 of Monet's paintings 75 microns wide, (or about the width of a hair.) I presented the etched chip mounted simply in a Lucite frame. The response to my first attempt at Nano-Art was overwhelmingly positive.
I would like to fund a project that would allow me to expand the artistic potential of the scientific technology I have at hand. As art can provoke mundane thought, and push against the limit of what is thought to be possible, so must our minds stretch to comprehend just how small these etchings are. Some of the examples below, made with an electron microscope, hopefully illustrate the scale: an etching next to a grain of salt, an eyelash, a tiny grain of sand.
The possibilities of what can be etched are as limitless as the imagination- iconic portraits, classical paintings, quotations, even personalized photos can be etched. I plan to use silicon, platinum and gold, as well as sapphire, as my "canvas", which would give the finished chip an iridescent resonance. I'd like to mount the etched chip in a simple non-glare glass frame with a paper or linen backing (chosen to fit the characteristics of the etched chip). The result would be a framed etching worthy of any wall... a piece of art informed by science, and a fascinating example of the extraordinary made possible. Each piece would come with one or many high resolution scanning electron microscope images of the etched patterns on glossy photographic paper that can be displayed with the piece itself.
Gold coated, etched chip framed under glass in a beveled gilt frame.
Here are some examples of ion beam sculpted images with various minuscule everyday objects to get an idea of the size of these carvings. These are the raw scanning electron microscope images-- images with coloration and such can be found in the video above.
President Obama and a grain of salt
Etching of the iconic Shepard Fairey Obama campaign poster next to a single grain of salt.
Seurat's "La Grande Jatte" and an eyelash
Seurat's famous pointillist painting "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." The painting is etched next to my eyelash.
Monet's Water Lilies and a grain of sand
Monet's "Japanese foot-bridge over the water-lily pond in Giverny" impressionist painting next to a single grain of sand. For an idea of the scale this grain of sand is about 25 times smaller than the grain of salt shown with the picture of President Obama.
Here are a few images that I've collected on my vast and wondrous travels through the internet that I've etched into silicon... Including the worlds smallest lolcat.
This is relevant to my interests...
Check out the level of detail that can be etched!
Give nanoKitteh a hug!
HA! HA! I'M SMALLER THAN SALT!!1!
Here are some examples of finished pieces that contain the etchings highlighted in the examples above and in the video.
Gold coated etched piece mounted under glass in a matte black frame.
Etched silicon chip in a wood paneled frame, mounted on canvas, under lucite.
Sapphire coated etched chip mounted under glass on a canvas mat.
I have at my disposal all the tools of nano-fabrication and as such there are a host of customizable iterations of this process. As the examples above show, the etchings can be carved into a variety of materials from silicon to gold to platinum to sapphire. Each material lends its own character to the final product-- while it may be difficult to see etchings in silicon with the naked eye metal or sapphire etchings can be iridescent and much more visible. For those willing to work with me personally on a project, it would possible to make renditions of free-standing fully three-dimensional structures at the nanoscale and/or use customized methods and materials.
Friends of the project :
A big thank you to the following people for posting/tweeting this project! I am eternally grateful!
1. Zach Weiner of SMBC! The greatest webcomic!
2. Nanowerk news about nanotechnology!
3. Professor Doug Natelson and his blog!
4. SoCalTech for their awesome article
5. FellowGeek for their detailed and motivational article.
6. GeekNews for an awesome blog post!
Firstly you can see where the etching is-- it shows up as an iridescent spot on the chip. Secondly, you can see the picture so long as you use the tools needed for the job, in this case a scanning electron microscope (SEM). I think that's part of the allure of these pieces-- that you get to direct the manipulation of material at a scale smaller than you can see. Don't forget that along with the etched chip you get several high-resolution images of the carving taken with the only type of camera that is built to do so, an SEM. Like the Hubble pictures of a distant supernova or a the birth of a star that are too distant to be seen by our eyes, a lot of nature's beauty can only be unlocked by using the right tools.