DETROIT (AP) – Barack Obama is larger than life these days. Except, that is, at the University of Michigan, where the president-elect has become remarkably small.

A team of researchers has created carbon nanotube images of Obama that can be seen only through electron microscopes.

John Hart, assistant professor in mechanical engineering, led the team that created a “nanobama” flag and “nanobama” blocks. There’s even a “nanobiden” image of the incoming vice president.

“I really didn’t mean it in a political way,” he said. “It was a basic demonstration of what we can do with nanotubes.”

Each of the millions of hollow carbon cylinders that make up the incoming president’s image is tens of thousands times smaller than a human hair, but stronger than steel – tiny stuff once of science fiction but now of Nobel prize-winning scientists.

Patterns arranged in the shapes of Obama’s and Biden’s faces, as well as the horizontal flag stripes, are made of metal catalyst nanoparticles. The nanotubes are “grown” like forests of trees on the patterns by 1,000 degree-plus heat in a chemical reaction.

The idea behind “nanobama” came to Hart about six months ago. It took about two days of work on their off-time just before the election to “grow” and photograph the nanotube images.

Other famous nanoscale etchings and objects include a U.S. flag, guitar and a silicon chip consisting of nearly 300,000 saxophone images, created by Cornell University for inclusion in the library of President Clinton.

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