DETROIT — Barack Obama is larger than life these days. Except, that is, at the University of Michigan, where the president-elect has become remarkably small.
A team of researchers has created carbon nanotube images of Obama that can be seen only through electron microscopes.
John Hart, assistant professor in mechanical engineering, led the team that created a “nanobama” flag and “nanobama” blocks. There’s also a “nanobiden” image of the incoming vice president.
“I really didn’t mean it in a political way,” he said. “It was a basic demonstration of what we can do with nanotubes.”
Each of the millions of hollow carbon cylinders that make up the image is tens of thousands times smaller than a human hair, but stronger than steel — tiny stuff once of science fiction.
Patterns arranged in the shapes of Obama’s and Biden’s faces are made of metal catalyst nanoparticles. The nanotubes are “grown” like forests of trees on the patterns by 1,000 degree-plus heat in a chemical reaction.