In science fiction, "shrink rays," the easiest way to turn a big & # 39; an object into something much, much smaller, but there really is not that simple. The creation of so-called "nano" version of & # 39 objects & # 39 is a difficult task, MIT researchers have tried to do a little bit easier, and result from the & # 39 is a new system that allows scientists to efficiently compress the three-dimensional structure of one thousandth of their original size,
When creating this new system, MIT Professor Edward Boyd and his disciples began with a technique that is actually used to make things more. This is called extension microscopy, and it is used to increase the size of cells and tissues by embedding the biological material with a polymer gel, which causes it to grow in size.
When designing a system for compression of 3D-& # 39 objects, the researchers used a similar technique in the opposite direction. First, the polymer framework is created, which is used as a 3D canvas to attach other particles. These particles – that may be something metal biological molecules – is in any form, and preferably attached by means of light-sensitive "anchor."
"You attach the anchor to where you want to light, and then you can attach anything you want to anchor," says Boyd. "It may be a quantum dot, it may be a DNA fragment, which may be gold nanoparticles."
Once the desired shape has been built structure is exposed to acid, which causes the polymer to shrink, reducing the on & # 39; object downward by as much as 1000 times.
Technique with & # 39 is very flexible and can be useful in many different applications. Currently, researchers believe that it could see use in the production of & # 39; the lens, as well as components for microscopes and endoscopes. Further down the road, the team says it may even help to build a nano-robot. Maybe "gray goo" Apocalypse in the cards for mankind in the end?