schliz writes "IBM scientists have created the smallest 3-D map of the earth, so small that 1,000 maps could fit on a grain of salt (YouTube video from IBM). The 500K-pixel map was created in 2 minutes 23 seconds. Using a tiny, heated silicon tip, the technique reached a resolution of 15nm — comparable to the 10nm achievable by the more complex electron beam lithography. The researchers believe that smaller resolutions are feasible. Potential applications range from fast prototyping for CMOS nanoelectronics to fabricating shape-matching templates for self-assembling nano-rods or nano-tubes, IBM says. The researchers also produced a billion-to-one scale model of the Matterhorn." This is very much a laboratory technique at the moment, at least five years from commercial use.