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Cubism at the nanoscale

Some of the most famous images in nanoscience and technology have been produced by scanning probe microscopes but, as Chris Toumey explains, there is much more to these images than meets the eye.

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Figure 1: Picasso's Les Demoiselles D'Avignon, the first cubist painting, represented a new way of seeing objects by showing the same subject from a number of different angles. (Courtesy of the Bridgeman Art Library.)
Figure 2: Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase showed that it was possible to include a temporal dimension in paintings. (Courtesy of the Bridgeman Art Library.)

© Succession Marcel Duchamp/ ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2007 AAAS IBM

Figure 3: This scanning electron micrograph of a silicon carbide nano flower was originally a greyscale image.

M. Welland and G. W. Ho, Nanoscience Centre, University of Cambridge

Figure 4


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Toumey, C. Cubism at the nanoscale. Nature Nanotech 2, 587–589 (2007).

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