media release

Teeny book gets Guinness recognition

October 09, 2012

Karen Kavanagh, 778.782.4244;
Li Yang, 778.782.3812;
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.9017;

Teeny Ted from Turnip Town
Photos on Flickr

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 millimetres, 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

Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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