Dec. 21, 2007 In a nanotechnology breakthrough, scientists from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have printed the entire Old Testament onto a silicon chip smaller than a pinhead (less than 1/1000th of an inch).
The idea to write the Old Testament on such a tiny surface was conceived by Technion Professor Uri Sivan of the Faculty of Physics, who is also head of the university's Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute.
The text was written using a focused ion beam (FIB) generator that shot tiny particles called Gallium ions onto a gold surface covering a base layer of silicon. In a process that can be likened to digging a hole in the earth using a water jet, the ion beam etched the surface of the gold layer, making the underlying silicon layer visible.
The actual "writing" of the full text took just 90 minutes. The computer program that guided the FIB, however, took more than three months.
"The nano-bible project demonstrates the miniaturization at our disposal," said Sivan. "This research could lead to the creation of more advanced miniature structures -- and imaging -- on a nanometric scale, advances in storing information in very small spaces, and the use of DNA molecules to store information."
The project was managed by graduate student Ohad Zohar and Dr. Alex Lahav, former head of the FIB laboratory in the Technion's Wolfson Microelectronics Research and Teaching Center.
According to the researchers, the nano-bible will now be photographed and expand 10,000 times - and still be small enough to fit into a 75-square foot frame to be hung in the Technion Faculty of Physics. The photograph's size will make it possible to read the entire Old Testament with the naked eye. The height of each letter will be three millimeters. The original nano-bible will be displayed next to the photograph.
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