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Elegant Nanosculptures Fit Comfortably Inside the Eye of a Needle

Jonty Hurwitz uses quantum physics to make teeny, tiny art.

by Beckett Mufson
13 November 2014, 4:45pm

Trust, 2014, Images via

"This sculpture as of October 2014 is the smallest creation of the human form in history." So reads the description for nano artist Jonty Hurtwitz's Trust, one piece in his new three-part microscopic sculpture series. The form depicts a woman posing like an incredibly detailed godess, and, at 80 x 100 x 20 microns, fits comfortably in the eye of a needle, or on a single follicle of hair.

The other two sculptures, Intensity and Cupid and Psyche: The First Kiss, are similarly sized, sculptures "at the same scale as the sperm that creates us," Hurwitz writes. His tiny forms are crafted through an incredibly time-intensive process which involved scanning human forms with a room-sized camera array, then sculpting each statue with a technique called Multiphoton Lithography, which is basically applied quantum physics. Hurwitz, with the help of The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Weizmann Institute of Science, created the sculptures using a highly-focused, computer-controlled beam of UV light to solidify voxels (3D pixels), essentially assembling the sculptures from scratch—polymer by polymer.

Trust, 2014

Given such a meticulous process, it's obvious that the Roman godess-like poses of his sculptures are no accident. Hurwitz has devoted a whole section of his nano art page to exploring the similarities between micro art and mythology, stating, "The absolute fact is this: the human eye is unable to see these sculptures. All you see is a small mirror with ... nothing on it.  The only way to perceive these works is on the screen of powerful scanning electron microscope. So how can you ever know that this sculpture really exists?"

Hurwitz suggests that our trust in technology isn't as different from the faith our ancestors had in the gods, a fact which he celebrates by basing his work on the myth of Cupid and Psyche. Celebrate the (possibly mythological) fruits of Hurwitz's labor with the microphotography of his nanosculptures, and a few behind-the-scenes snapshots, below.

Trust, 2014

Cupid and Psyche: The First Kiss, 2014

Cupid and Psyche: The First Kiss, 2014

Cupid and Psyche: The First Kiss, 2014

Cupid and Psyche: The First Kiss, 2014

Intensity, 2014

Intensity, 2014

Intensity, 2014

Trust, 2014

Visit Hurwitz's website for more nano art, and in-depth explanations of his work.

h/t Beautiful Decay

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