The World’s Smallest Knife

In November, 2006, the National Institute of Standards and Technology with help from the University of Colorado, Boulder unveiled the world’s smallest knife: the nanoknife made of nano carbon. In an attempt to produce a series of nano tools such as nano tweezers, nano bearings, and nano oscillators, they have also produced a nanoknife.

The world's smallest knife. (Its that little, tiny wire between the two round horn-like thing).

The world’s smallest knife. (Its that little, tiny wire between the two round horn-like thing).

Why A Nanoknife?

To further understand cellular biology, scientists wanted to be able to cut smaller sections of cells. Old technology used glass knives that often times damaged edges as well as limit the size of the cuts. Carbon nano tubes are only a few atoms wide and allow for much more precise division of cells.

How it was Made

The nano knife was produced by growing a carbon nano tub in the lab. It was then welded to two tungsten needles. The edge of the nano tube works as a great surface to cut with.

Initial testing found that the weakest part of the nanoknife was the welding that held the nano tube to the needles. The team has went back to the drawing board to determine the best way to produce the nanoknife.

Other Uses of Carbon Nanotubes

A carbon nanotube is a cylinder made of carbon atoms. Carbon is found in ash as well as diamonds. The nanotube structure allows for very, very strong ropes. It is believed that a carbon nanotube string can be used to make a space elevator. Because of its tension, the nanotubes will not snap when extended out way past the earth’s athmosphere.

Other cool uses for nanotubes would be: faster computer chips, longer lasting batteries, cancer treatments, body armor, super thin TVs, and more efficient solar cells.


If you enjoyed this article, check out our review of the best machete, the best bowie knife, and the best dive knife.

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