World's smallest periodic table created in Nottingham

Video courtesy of the University of Nottingham

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Scientists have created the world's smallest periodic table on a strand of hair at the University of Nottingham.

An imaging microscope and a beam of accelerated ions were used to put the table on the hair, which belonged to chemistry professor Martyn Poliakoff.

Scientists from the university's Nanotechnology and Nanoscience Centre said a million copies of the table could fit on a single post-it note.

Guinness World Records has now confirmed it as the smallest ever made.

Scientists created the complete and up-to-date table of elements by putting the strand inside an ion beam microscope.

Birthday present

An image of the table was then "engraved" on to the hair by irradiating it with ions of gallium at huge speeds.

The finished table was given to a delighted Prof Poliakoff, the brother of playwright and film director Stephen, as a birthday present.

Prof Poliakoff Prof Poliakoff was given the tiny table as a birthday present

He said: "I am delighted. In my wildest nightmares I have never imagined being in the Guinness Book of Records, least of all in connection with my hair.

"The fact that I am is a tribute to the university's Nanotechnology Centre."

The etched table measures 100x50 microns, with one micron being a thousandth of a millimetre.

Since 2008, Prof Poliakoff has presented The Periodic Table of Videos, a series of short online clips giving information about every element.

The films have made him an unlikely internet "star" and he is currently on a lecture tour of Australia.

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