If you guys are anything like me, then you'll want to sit down for this one.
A new "nano machine shop" that shapes nanowires and ultrathin films could represent a future manufacturing method for tiny structures with potentially revolutionary properties.
The structures might be tuned for applications ranging from high-speed electronics to solar cells and also may have greater strength and unusual traits such as ultrahigh magnetism and "plasmonic resonance," which could lead to improved optics, computers and electronics.
The researchers used their technique to stamp nano- and microgears; form tiny circular shapes out of a material called graphene, an ultrathin sheet of carbon that holds promise for advanced technologies; and change the shape of silver nanowires, said Gary Cheng, an associate professor of industrial engineering at Purdue University.
"We do this shaping at room temperature and atmospheric pressure, like a nano-machine shop," ...
..."The process could be scaled up for an industrial roll-to-roll manufacturing process by changing laser beam size and scanning speed," Cheng said. "The laser shock-induced shaping approach is fast and low-cost."...
Oh and also http://io9.com/5939001/this-microscopic-3+d-pattern-was-painted-using-a-laser-beam
Scientists at the Vienna University of Technology have developed a brand new method for positioning molecules in space with micrometer precision. They call it "3D-photografting," and it uses laser beams to place microscopic chemical structures in the nooks and crannies of a macromolecular meshwork known as hydrogel.