Beyond Sight Within Grasp (Red Yellow and Blue)
Nanotechnology is a relatively new field of research that was first established in the 1980’s following advances in microscope technologies. The term nanotechnology refers to the manipulation of matter at the scale between 1 - 1000 nanometres. With one nanometre (nm) equal to one billionth of a meter it is a remarkably small scale, equivalent to 1/100,000 the width of a human hair.
The wavelength of visible light measures 400 - 700nm, making the nanoscale literally impossible to see with any optical microscope. Instead scientists require electron beam microscopes (with a smaller wavelength than light) or Atomic Force Microscopes (AFM) which measure movements in a very fine tip that gently hovers above, touches or taps the sample surface.
Using an Atomic Force Microscope at UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineering Faculty a mirror polished sheet of copper has been scanned to reveal the microscopic variations in surface texture, capturing the hidden landscape within the perceptibly reflective surface.
A group of blind and partially sighted members of Vision London East were invited to review a series of 3D prints from each of the scales of red, blue and yellow light in order to decide which scans would be enlarged to form public sculpture relative to each wavelength.
The selected scans were enlarged to 400mm, 550mm and 700mm, equivalent to an increase in scale by a factor of one million from the original AFM scans.
Within the public space will be able to touch the sculptures and the polished copper sheets that they rest upon. This tactile engagement will slowly reveal elements of the underlying colours on the sculptures and leave finger traces on the polished copper surfaces; forming an echo of the tactile process from which the sculptures have been formed.