As scientists continue to hone their skills in working at the nanoscale, they are designing the bricks from which functional microdevices will be produced in the future. Mason and Hernandez anticipate that their LithoParticles—microscale particles shaped like the twenty-six letters of the Latin alphabet—will have significant technological and scientific uses, such as marking individual cells with particular identification characters. The fluorescent particles, dispersed in a liquid solution, were manufactured with the same lithographic technology used in computer electronics. Mason and Hernandez have also developed complex three-dimensional forms, which, they say, "could lead to the creation of tiny pumps, engines, or containers for medical applications."
Gallery label from Born out of Necessity, March 2, 2012–January 28, 2013.