Rather than a penny for your thoughts, it’s a penny for your flag
The Canadian penny may have gone the way of the dodo bird now that it is no longer in use, but a research engineer at McMaster University has had a bit of fun with the ol’ coin.
Travis Casagrande has inserted a microscopic Canadian flag on a pole that is 1/100th the diameter of a human hair. The flag, hidden in the surface of the penny, is invisible to the naked eye.
To make the flag, Casagrande and his team focused an ion beam microscope, using a beam of charged particles to carve a tiny hole in the penny and leaving the flagpole standing in the centre.
He moved the beam to a different area and cut the flag shape from the material’s surface. After the flag was cut away from the penny, it was moved to the pole and “raised” by attaching it to the pole with a deposited metal layer.
The Maple Leaf design was carved into the flag using the focused beam. Why did he do all this, you ask? Casagrande said his team was inspired by the opportunity to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday and to demonstrate the capabilities of the high-powered microscope at McMaster’s Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy.
A close-up of the flag inserted on a penny by a McMaster engineering team.