This laser etching on a human hair will blow your mind

What better way to build your brand than to etch your emblem into a human hair? That’s exactly what scientists at IBM have done using a powerful type of laser called an excimer laser.

The average human hair is about 100 micrometres thick. That’s really thin. So, thin, in fact, that if you stacked 254 human hairs one on top of the other, your stack would only be one inch high.

And the laser that IBM scientists used was so precise that, on that 100 micrometre strip, they were able to etch the letters I, B, and M not once, but twice!

Laser-etched hair

These powerful lasers are used for certain surgeries that require a high-level of precision, like eye-laser surgery, because they can make clean, narrow cuts in human tissue, as evidence in the impressive image shown above.

The first people to recognise this potential in the early 1980s were IBM scientists Rangaswamy Srinivasan, Samuel Blum and James Wynne. For their discovery, the three scientists were elected to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2002.

This image is included in the image gallery for this year’s March meeting hosted by the American Physical Society, where James Wynne spoke at a Thursday session about his history with lasers at IBM.

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