The world`s smallest guitar is 10 micrometers long -- about the size of a single cell -- with six strings each about 50 nanometers, or 100 atoms, wide. Made by Cornell University researchers from crystalline silicon, it demonstrates a new technology for a new generation of electromechanical devices.
The guitar has six strings, each string about 50 nanometers wide, the width of about 100 atoms. If plucked -- by an atomic force microscope, for example -- the strings would resonate, but at inaudible frequencies. The entire structure is about 10 micrometers long, about the size of a single human blood cell.
A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. For comparison, the diameter of a human hair is about 200 micrometers, or 200,000 nanometers -- positively huge compared to these newest structures, where the guitar string is about 50 to 100 nanometers in diameter.
The Nondo is the "grand piano" of Neil Feather`s instruments. It consists of a large steel sheet that is strung lengthwise with music wire to create a shallow "U" curve similar to the base of a rocking chair. One end of the metal body has an obtuse bend for lateral rigidity. The weight of the body and the tension of the strings create a balance that can be momentarily altered by pressing or lifting different points along the rigid end of the sheet. The strings are struck with mallets and can be dampened with fingers.