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World's Smallest Light Bulb

Scientists at UCLA have constructed the world's smallest light bulb. When it's turned off, the tiny filament is invisible to the naked eye. Flip the switch, however, and it becomes a tiny pin-prick of light.

The minuscule bulb was created using carbon nanotube technology, a much touted scientific breakthrough that has, until now, been used to do little else other than create portraits of our dear leader. The carbon filament that creates the light is only 100 atoms wide -- tens of thousands of times smaller than the filament used by Edison in his first light bulb.

What practical purpose does such an itty-bitty light serve? Well, none, but research from the project could prove invaluable. The carbon nanotube that is large enough that the traditional laws of thermodynamics apply, but small enough to be considered "molecular," the scale at which the laws of quantum mechanics come into play.

Usually thermodynamics, as well as other large scale physics theories (such as relativity), are not applicable at the same time as quantum mechanics. The two ways of explaining the universe are seemingly incompatible, so tiny things like this light bulb could help scientists examine the border where the incompatibilities occur.

So, even though there are no real world uses for such a tiny bulb, the breakthrough it represents could ultimately lead us to a so-called "theory of everything." Which is definitely cool. [From: LiveScience]

Tags: carbon nanotubes, CarbonNanotubes, light bulb, light bulbs, LightBulb, LightBulbs, nanotube, physics, quantum mechanics, quantum physics, QuantumMechanics, QuantumPhysics, science, string theory, StringTheory, superlatives, theory of everything, TheoryOfEverything, top, worlds smallest, WorldsSmallest



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