Singapore scientists have shrunk a portrait of Swedish Playboy model Lena Soderberg down to the width of a human hair. Measuring a mere 50 micrometres across the print was made with a device that can produce colour images of up to 100,000 dots per inch. The image used by a team from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research originated in a 1972 issue of Playboy and is commonly used for testing printing techniques. I know there is a joke in here somewhere and I invite you to drop it in the comments below.
“Our colour-mapping strategy produces images with both sharp colour changes and fine tonal variations, is amenable to large-volume colour printing… and could be useful in making micro-images for security...”
To obtain the image, the team used tiny silver and gold particles, which, when arranged in a certain manner, produced colour.
Prof. Chad Mirkin:
“Instead of taking normal dyes and using conventional printing, they're making colours out of one material by adjusting nanostructure in a lithographic [a technique to create patterns] experiment.”
Assistant professor Alexander Sawchuk at the University of Southern California Signal and Image Processing Institute was looking for a picture that was different from his teams usual image. That's when he spotted a recent issue of Playboy someone had brought in. The image of Lena scanned in 1973 was shot by Dwight Hooker and was so widely used through out computer history that the model has become known as the "first lady of the internet".