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Researchers at Western University in London, Ontario say they have created the world's tiniest snowman.

World's smallest snowman built in Canada. See it here


Leeanna McLean
Digital News Reporter

Friday, December 23, 2016, 4:10 PM - Standing at less than three microns tall, scientists at Western University in London, Ont., have created the world's smallest snowman.

The snowman's body was made from three 0.9 micron silica spheres, with platinum used to sculpt the nose and arms. The figure can only be seen by the human eye through the use of an electron microscope.

To put things into perspective, a grain of sand is roughly 100 microns.


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Silica is a chemical compound made up of silicon and oxygen. It is one of the most common minerals on Earth and is a basic component in soil, sand and quartz. The three spheres were stacked with the use of electron beam lithography and the eyes and mouth were cut with a focused ion beam.

Image courtesy: Western University Nanofabrication Lab

"It's just a compelling little image, especially for the time of year," Dr. Todd Simpson, scientist from the Western University's Nonofabrication Facility told The Canadian Press.

"It's not easy to find something that's easy for people to comprehend -- most of what we do is pretty complicated and probably kind of boring to most," he told the news agency. "It's not something we set out to make, it was something that I found on a sample made for another purpose but it only took a few minutes to give him arms and a face and a nose."


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Simpson told The Canadian Press he got the idea back in December 2005 when he first noticed three silica spheres stacked together resembled a snowman.

The scientist took an image of the spheres and used a program to draw a face and arms on the figure to make a Christmas card. This year Simpson thought he would try something different by actually sculpting the facial features and arms.

Image courtesy: Western University Nanofabrication Lab

"I've been meaning to do this for a while," he told the news agency. "It's obviously something you want to do just before Christmas. I had the sample sitting there, waiting for a chance ... I had some spare time so I just popped it in and made it up."

SOURCE: The Canadian Press

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