Mona Lisa, drawn by Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci, is undoubtedly the world’s most famous painting. In fact, this painting has been acclaimed as “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world.” However, lately researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have “painted” Mona Lisa again, but on the world’s smallest canvas.
The Mona Lisa that Leonardo da Vinci drew measures 30-inch × 21-inch (77 cm x 53 cm). But the new painting of Mona Lisa that scientists at Georgia Tech have created is about 30 microns wide, or about one-third the width of a human hair. The team has named their painting “Mini Lisa.”
To create this painting, researchers didn’t use any paintbrushes or pencils, rather they used a new process called ThermoChemical NanoLithography (TCNL). As a result, incredibly precise variations in heat produced lighter or darker shades of gray in a special dye.
Jennifer Curtis, an associate professor in the School of Physics and the study’s lead author said, “By tuning the temperature, our team manipulated chemical reactions to yield variations in the molecular concentrations on the nanoscale. The spatial confinement of these reactions provides the precision required to generate complex chemical images like the Mini Lisa.”
However, the Mini Lisa demonstrates a technique that could potentially be used to achieve nano-manufacturing of devices. Now researchers expect to expand the process to other materials. The team published their findings “Fabricating Nanoscale Chemical Gradients with ThermoChemical NanoLithography“, in the Langmuir journal.