NPL makes world’s smallest snowman

A researcher at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the UK’s measurement institute, claims to have created the world’s smallest model snowman.

It was created by Dr David Cox, who is seconded to the Quantum Detection group at NPL from the Advanced Technology Institute at the University of Surrey.

The snowman is not actually made from snow at all – it is made of two tiny tin beads of the kind used to calibrate electron microscope lenses.

It is, however, small, measuring just 0.01mm across – about 1/5th the width of the average human hair. Its nose measures 0.7um, or 0.0007mm.

It was assembled manually using a system designed to manipulate nanoparticles and welded together with tiny deposits of platinum.

A focused ion beam was used to carve its eyes and smile, and to deposit platinum for the nose. The tree is made from silicon, also cut to shape by a focused ion beam.