Teeny book gets Guinness recognition
Teeny Ted from Turnip Town is officially the world’s tiniest reproduction of a printed book. Produced in Simon Fraser University’s Nano Imaging lab and measuring a mere 0.07 X0.10 millimeters, the 30-micro-tablet book has been added to the Guinness Book of World Records.
The book’s publisher, Robert Chaplin, created the nano book in 2007, after being trained to use a focused gallium ion beam (FIB) by the SFU lab’s managers Li Yang and Karen Kavanagh.
Chaplin designed and carved each page of the book into a polished piece of single crystalline silicon by sending the FIB system instructions about where to mill. The FIB has a gallium beam with a diameter of little more than seven nanometers, so each letter consisted of lines with 40 nm widths.
“Each letter takes a few seconds, so a whole book adds up in time to something probably not useful yet for commercial production,” says Kavanagh. “We need more beams moving in parallel – which is not impossible. Once scribed into silicon the book will last for a million years or more.”
Reading Teeny Ted from Turnip Town requires the use of a scanning electron microscope.
The book is a tinier read than the two smallest books formerly cited by Guinness: 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). The head of a pin is about 2 mm.
A framed copy of the certificate from the Guinness folks hangs on the lab’s wall while the book, valued at around $15,000, is kept in a tiny box in a bank vault.
“Guinness has many requests and they take some time to weed out the good ones,” says Kavanagh of the near five-year wait. While there were plans to sell copies, only the one book was made.
Chaplin now has plans to make hardcopy versions of the nano book – a fable written by his brother about Teeny Ted’s victory in the turnip contest at the annual county fair – and is currently seeking investors via kickstarter.com.
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