I’m working on Nano Art- customized etchings at the nano-scale that are done next to or on an everyday macroscopic object. This juxtaposition of things that we see every day and things that are too small to see is something I'm calling a 'nano-composition.' 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 profession, and I'm not focused on exhibiting Nano Art. Instead, I want to make personalized art for you to keep, display, or give as a gift. Kickstarter gives me the opportunity to offer you these made-to-order pieces basically at cost, (i.e. without any markups,) with your support acting as a seed to launch this idea! How cool is that?
These nano-compositions are designed by you, etched by me with a Focused Ion Beam, and photographed with an electron microscope. They look awesome on the wall, and they’re fantastic conversation pieces…how many people do you know with the Mona Lisa one-thousand times smaller than a grain of rice?
Interested? Read on!
****Updates and Mentions****
Etchings on a hair or the head of a pin are half off!
Science Friday wrote an awesome article!
Like Mythbusters? So do I! Check out this gallery for some spiffy nano-mythbusters fun!
****Check the bottom for more!****
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 in the lab? Check out the video below!
I had a previous Kickstarter project, launched in February here. People were fascinated by what I was making, but they weren’t so keen on expensive modern art with components too small to see with the naked eye. So I retooled… the object: maximum coolness for the minimum price! I listened to the great suggestions you made, and was able to lower my funding goal AND the price for my backer rewards. “Reloaded “means you get something for ANY amount of backing, and you can have whatever you want etched into silicon, next to a hair or grain of salt or sand, for less than half the previous amount! Also…I adjusted the actual reward: now you’ll get a beautiful photograph of the nano-composition for your viewing pleasure. For those of you who would still like to have the actual etched chip, we can make it even cooler by including it, and framing it all together.
One day it occurred to me to use the Focused Ion Beam for something other than Science..."Nano-Art!" A gallium atom would be the pencil or paint, and a minuscule chip of silicon the canvas. On a whim, I replicated 3 of Monet's “Water Lillies”, side by side on a silicon chip about 75 microns wide, (or about the width of a hair.) I presented the etched chip mounted on a print of the three images, in a frame, as a gift. The response to my first attempt at Nano-Art was: “HOW COOL!”
I’d like to fund a project that would let me expand the artistic potential of the scientific technology I have at hand. Honestly, a grain of salt or an eyelash looks totally different at the nano-scale. Consider this: an object you normally see as tiny (a hair, a grain of salt, or sand,) is HUGE compared to things made in the nano-world. It can completely change the way you look at things around you, I know it did for me. Why do we care about the nano-world, you ask? Well… every bit of the technology so essential for functioning, including the computer that you're using now, is made with electronic devices that are the size of the etchings in this project!
The possibilities of what can be etched are as limitless as the imagination- iconic portraits, classical paintings, LOLcats, quotations, even personalized photos can be etched. I plan to use silicon, platinum and gold, as my "canvas." You can choose to get a print of one of the pre-made compositions (check out the “Backer Gallery,”) OR you can send me a picture and I'll etch it next to the object of your choice! Here are some examples:
President Obama and a grain of salt
Etching of the iconic Shepard Fairey Obama campaign poster next to a single grain of salt.
Detail of the etching itself.Notice that at this magnification the grain of salt looks like a rock wall.
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, and the bottom picture shows the etching itself in detail.
Nano Art on the head of a pin
That's right, that is the title of this project etched into the side of the head of a pin! Each letter is half the width of a hair
So that I don't overwhelm this page, here’s a link to the growing collection of images I’ve etched, and nano-compositions I ‘ve already put together. These range from inspirational portraits that juxtapose the large and the small, to random stuff I found on the internet and etched into silicon. (Including the world's smallest LOLcat and HAHA guy!)
This is a link to the gallery from which you can choose postcards or prints! These images were specifically chosen from the Gallery of Images. Stay tuned...if inspiration strikes, this collection will expand!
For those of you who decide to support the project at the level of $100 or greater, you’ll get a glossy print of your customized etching, with the chip mounted on the print, all of it beautifully framed. So not only do you get art to hang on your wall, you also get your very own sample of nanotechnology! This is what a template for the framing would look like:
with the chip mounted within the white square. (The chip is 1/2 the size of the box to create a nice border). This is how it looks as a final product:
NOTE: This is NOT the frame that the prints will be framed in! Backers will have 3 frame styles to choose from: classic wood, romantic, or modern and images of these will be posted as soon as possible.
Limited Run Awesomeness
To increase the personalized coolness factor, as a limited run offer, you can etch words or line drawings into either a hair or a pin! I’ll send you an an electron microscope photo of your creation. It's perfect for company logos and who wouldn't want their name on the head of a pin or on a hair? Here is a taste:
The logo of one of my favorite NPR shows etched into a hair! They used it for their facebook timeline picture!
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!
- (45 days)