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Physicists create tiny ruler to easily measure nanoscale contraptions

Sean Hollister

How do you measure items constructed on a nanoscale assembly line? Why, using a plasmon ruler that measures how much the structure's surrounding gas resonates, of course... and it just so happens that science has theoretically built a better one than ever before. Researchers at China's Wuhan University discovered that by using nanospheres "to modify surface plasmon coupling of a nanorod dimer" -- yes, that's a little over our heads, too -- they could create a linear plasmon ruler that allows one to read how far apart the particles are using a far simpler calculation and modify the range of measurement more easily too. None of this may seem important to you at the moment, but remember: nobody wants imprecisely-sized nanites crawling through their tubes.

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