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Cats. Dogs. Look at this Little Thing! The Department of Microscopic Marvels is thrilled to present these photos of the world’s smallest sandcastles, each one etched on a single grain of sand.

Look at this Little Thing!

Brooklyn-based artist Vik Muniz (previously featured here) collaborated with artist and MIT researcher Marcelo Coelho these impossibly tiny sandcastles. The process they used was a combination of both high-tech and old-fashioned methods and the result of 4 years of experimentation. Muniz first drew each castle using a camera lucida, a 19th century optical tool that relies on a prism to project a reflection of whatever is in front of you onto paper where it can be traced.

The drawings were then sent to Coelho who worked with a number of microscopic drawing processes for several years before deciding to use a Focused Ion Beam (FIB) which has the capability of creating a line only 50 nanometers wide (a human hair is about 50,000 nanometers wide). Daily Squee - Cute Animals.