According to a short article in LabnewsOnline, Canadian physicists have created the world's smallest book. This book, which was 'printed' in the nano-imaging lab of Simon Fraser University (SFU), measures only 0.07 mm by 0.10 mm, and is composed of 30 microtablets. This book, complete with an International Standard Book Number (ISBN-978-1- 894897-17-4), is entitled 'Teeny Ted From Turnip Town.' It was written by Malcolm Douglas Chaplin, a Canadian artist, and was typeset in block letters with a resolution of 40 nanometers. You can even buy one of the 100 copies of this book for about $20,000, electron microscope not included.
Above is an image of this very tiny book made of 30 microtablets (Credit: SFU). These microtablets have been built by professor Karen Kavanagh and the members of her lab, using the tools available at the SFU Nano-Imaging Facility.
In a former news release dated May 3, 2007, SFU gives additional details.
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 team used a focused gallium-ion beam and one of the electron microscopes at 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.
When you buy a book, I'm sure you are more interested in its subject than by the printing technology behind it. So let's look at what says Robert Chaplin, the author of 'Teeny Ted From Turnip Town.' It is simply "a fable concerning the success of Teeny Ted from Turnip town and his victory in the Turnip contest at the annual county fair."
So, are you going to pay $20,000 for a book you only can read with an electron microscope? Of course, for that price, you'll be the owner of a book that soon will enter the Guinness Book of World Records. And no, it's not available on Amazon...
Sources: LabnewsOnline, UK, May 19, 2007; and various websites
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