Smallest object photographed
Dave Kielpinski
Australia ()
In July 2012, a team of experimental physicists led by Dave Kielpinski, at Griffith University in Australia, published details of an experiment in which they were able to photograph an atom. They used an electric field to trap an "ion" of the element ytterbium – an ion is an atom that has electric charge, allowing it to be held in the electric field. Then they shone light on the trapped ion and used a super-high-resolution microscope to obtain an image of the shadow that the ion cast. And this was then recorded on a CCD – a kind of electronic version of photographic film. An ytterbium ion has a diameter of approximately 400 picometres – or, 0.4 millionths of a millimetre – making it the smallest object ever photographed.