AMBER creates nano statuette to celebrate Oscars 2016

24 Feb 2016

AMBER created a nano statuette to celebrate the Irish nominees in the Oscars 2016. Image via MidoSemsem /

All eyes will be on Hollywood this weekend as the 86th Academy Awards takes place.

The question on everyone’s lips is whether or not Oscars 2016 will see Leonardo DiCaprio finally win his first Oscar – considering he’s swept the boards at the awards shows so far, there will be severe shock if he doesn’t.

Irish eyes will also be watching closely, with Saoirse Ronan and Michael Fassbender up for acting gongs; Irish-connected films Room and Brooklyn vying for Best Picture and Lenny Abrahamson (Best Director) and Emma Donoghue (Best Adapted Screenplay) also flying the flag for Ireland. Stutterer, by Irish director Benjamin Cleary, is also nominated for Best Live Action Short.

To honour the Irish Oscars 2016 nominees, AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland-supported materials science centre based at Trinity College Dublin, decided to create the world’s smallest nano Oscars statuette.

AMBER - The World's smallest statuette

An image of the AMBER statuette, via AMBER

The width of the nano statuette’s head is just 25 nanometres, or 20,000 times smaller than the width of a full stop. This is in comparison to the actual Oscar statuettes given out on the night, which stand approximately 35cm tall and also weigh more than 3.5kg.

The statuette – which was actually milled onto a fragment of gold – was created using the neon beam of AMBER’s Zeiss Orion Nanofab – which is an instrument that can image and machine nanostructures of less than 10 nanometres (one nanometre is one-billionth of a metre) quickly and accurately.

Check out this video of the process:

Mary Colclough, communications, outreach and public affairs manager at AMBER, commented: “Ireland as a country is paving the way for so many industries internationally at the moment. Currently, we are ranked second in the world for nanoscience and third in the world for the quality of our materials science research.

“As Ireland’s leading material sciences research centre, we feel this small nano-token was the least we could do to recognise the nominees’ outstanding achievements and the importance of marking a place for Ireland internationally, across all industries.”

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Oscar statuettes image via Shutterstock 

Brigid O Gorman is a former sub-editor of Silicon Republic.