> Nano lab produces world’s smallest book

Nano lab produces world’s smallest book

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Karen Kavanagh, 778.782.4244, karen_kavanagh@sfu.ca
Li Yang, 604.291.3812, li_yang_2@sfu.ca
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 604.291.4323

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April 11, 2007
It’s a big feat of the tiniest proportions. Simon Fraser University’s Nano Imaging Lab has produced the world’s smallest published book.

The only catch — you’ll need a scanning electron microscope to read it.

At 0.07 mm X 0.10 mm, Teeny Ted from Turnip Town is a tinier read than the two smallest books currently cited by the Guinness Book of World Records: the New Testament of the King James Bible (5 X 5 mm, produced by MIT in 2001) and Chekhov’s Chameleon (0.9 X 0.9 mm, Palkovic, 2002).

(By way of comparison, the head of a pin is about 2 mm).

The production of the nanoscale book was carried out at SFU by publisher Robert Chaplin, with the help of SFU scientists Li Yang and Karen Kavanagh. The work involved using a focused-gallium-ion beam and one of a number of electron microscopes available in SFU’s nano imaging facility.

With a minimum diameter of seven nanometers (a nanometer is about 10 atoms in size) the beam was programmed to carve the space surrounding each letter of the book.

The book is made up of 30 microtablets, each carved on a polished piece of single crystalline silicon, and has its own International Standard Book Number, ISBN-978-1-894897-17-4.

The story, written by Chaplin’s brother Malcolm Douglas Chaplin, is a fable about Teeny Ted’s victory in the turnip contest at the annual county fair.

Considered an intricate work of contemporary art, the book is available in a signature edition (100 copies) from the publisher, through the SFU lab.