'Legends of Tomorrow': Brandon Routh Responds to Scientists Finding Atom-Like Shrinking Technology

MIT researchers have invented a way to shrink things to nanoscale with a laser, but Legends of Tomorrow star Brandon Routh wants them to know that, for as cool as that is, they're way behind the Atom.

In a gesture that can only be filed under "all in good fun" Routh, who plays Ray Palmer/The Atom on The CW Arrowverse superhero show, took to Twitter to share CNN's story about the scientific breakthrough but before he could be suitably impressed with the achievement, he had to make a joke.

"These guys are way behind the times..." Routh wrote, adding a cry-laughing emoji and "#TheATOM". "But, seriously -- wha?!?!?!"

All teasing aside, the MIT breakthrough is pretty impressive. According to CNN, the laser the researchers invented can take any simple structure and shrink it down to one 1,000th of its original size. In theory, this technology -- called "implosion fabrication" -- has applications in a number of useful fields, including the development of smaller microscopes, the creation of tiny robots, and even cell phone lenses. They could even use the technology to create smarter cancer drugs that could actually target cancer cells more efficiently.

While all of these are incredible applications, it's important to remember that the key to how it works is that it shrinks simple structures -- not complex ones. That means humans aren't going to be getting to try out Ray Palmer's awesome shrinking powers on themselves anytime soon, though if you've been watching Legends recently you might realize that's a good thing. In an attempt to see Nora Darhk (Courtney Ford) after she surrendered herself to Time Bureau custody, Ray shrank himself down to where he could fit inside the envelope of a letter he sent to her. He ends up staying in tiny size for a bit while Nora, along with Ava (Jes McCallan) and Mona (Ramona Young) end up drunk and trapped in Nora's cell. Don't worry: he returns to normal size and saves the day, eventually. It's something that Routh teased when talking about Ray and Nora's relationship during a visit to the set of Legends earlier this fall.

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"She gives herself over willingly, knowing that she is going to pay for her crimes and hopefully continue to rehabilitate herself, which is a strong power move of taking responsibility and making amends for what she’s done," Routh said. "Ray is very proud of her and also sad, because he didn’t necessarily want her to do that. As much as he’s a rule-followers, he would have rather had her free and away so that he could spend time with her and she could be away. But there are some fun interactions that happen in the next couple of episodes with her being in the Time Bureau prison. Ray finds an interesting way to get to her, to see her and visit her."

Legends of Tomorrow will return with new episodes sometime in April of 2019.