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Worlds smallest incandescent lamp Image 2
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World's smallest incandescent lamp (Image 2)

April 29, 2014
Images of the world's smallest incandescent lamp at progressively increasing magnification. Starting from the bottom up, you see the supporting silicon chip perched on a fingertip, a 2X optical microscope image showing the whole chip with gold wires, a 100X optical microscope image showing the filament energized, and a 5000X electron microscope image showing the carbon nanotube with 100X optical incandescence data overlaid. The lamp was created by physicists at the University of California, Los Angeles, using a filament made from a single carbon nanotube only 100 atoms wide. Invisible to the untrained eye, the filament appears as a tiny point of light when the lamp is turned on. Even with the best optical microscope it is only just possible to resolve the nanotube's non-zero length. The team uses an electron microscope capable of atomic resolution to image the filament's true structure. The research was supported by a Natoinal Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award (grant DMR 07-48880). To learn more about this research, see the Science Daily news story Physicists Create World's Smallest Incandescent Lamp. (Date of Image: May 2009) Credit: Regan Group, UCLA


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