Many people strive to find the largest tree for the holidays, but one student has done just the opposite – she created the world's smallest Christmas tree.
Maura Williams from Delft University of Technology designed a festive tree made of individual atoms that is just four nanometers tall – without counting the tree-topper.
Williams used a device that allowed her to scan each atom and change their position to form the iconic shape.
The structure consists of 51 atoms from a perfect crystal lattice, all of which translates as the size of a DNA strand or 40,000 times smaller than a human hair.
The largest artificial Christmas tree resides in Sri Lanka, which stands more than 236 feet tall and made the Guinness World Records for its height.
However, Williams' tiny artificial tree may be an even greater achievement.
The tiny tree was a graduation project, in which she used a scanning tunneling microscope that is designed to scan individual atoms and change their positions.
This technology is used to study each atom's individual quantum mechanical properties.
Williams used this massive piece of machinery to construct the tiny tree by adjusting each of the 51 atoms individually to create the shape of a Christmas tree.
The end result was a tiny green Christmas tree that is roughly the size of a DNA strand.
Scientists conduct these interested experiments to better understand the world around them – even though they typically have a fun result.