World's smallest Christmas card produced by UG engineers

Dec 23, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- It wouldn't look good on the mantelpiece and is bound to get lost in the post – it’s the world’s smallest Christmas card.

Engineers from the University of Glasgow produced it to highlight their world-leading expertise.

Invisible to the naked eye, the card is so small that 8276 of them could fit on an area the size of a first class stamp.

Using nanotechnology, Professor David Cumming and Dr. Qin Chen from the University’s School of Engineering etched the Christmas tree image onto a minute piece of glass.

Professor Cumming said: “Our nanotechnology is among the best in the world but sometimes explaining to the public what the technology is capable of can be a bit tricky.

World's smallest Christmas card produced by UG engineers

“We decided that producing this Christmas card was a simple way to show just how accurate our technology is. The process to manufacture the card only took 30 minutes. It was very straightforward to produce as the process is highly repeatable – the design of the card took far longer than the production of the card itself.

“The card is 200 micro-meters wide by 290 micro-metres tall. To put that into some sort of perspective, a micro-meter is a millionth of a metre; the width of a human hair is about 100 micro-meters. You could fit over half a million of them onto a standard A5 Christmas card – but signing them would prove to be a bit of a challenge.”

The colors were produced by plasmon resonance in a patterned aluminium film made in the University of Glasgow’s James Watt Nanofabrication Center.

Although the Christmas card example is a simple demonstration, the underlying technology has some very important real world applications.

The electronics industry is taking advantage of micro and nano-fabrication technology by using it in bio-technology sensing, optical filtering and light control components. These applications are critical in the future development of the digital economy and the emerging healthcare technology markets. This technology could eventually find its way into cameras, television and computer screens to reduce the manufacturing cost.

Explore further: Making 'bucky-balls' in spin-out's sights

Provided by University of Glasgow

2.8 /5 (4 votes)

Related Stories

Computer scientists make progress on math puzzle

Oct 28, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Two UT Dallas computer scientists have made progress on a nearly 4-decade-old mathematical puzzle, producing a proof that renowned Stanford computer scientist Don Knuth called "amazing" in his communication ...

Samsung's new flash chips for mobile devices

Jan 14, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Samsung Electronics has announced two new flash chip storage devices for mobiles: a removable 32-Gbyte micro SD (secure digital) card and a 64-Gbyte moviNAND flash memory module. Both are ...

Recommended for you

Making 'bucky-balls' in spin-out's sights

14 hours ago

(Phys.org) —A new Oxford spin-out firm is targeting the difficult challenge of manufacturing fullerenes, known as 'bucky-balls' because of their spherical shape, a type of carbon nanomaterial which, like ...

Polymer microparticles could help verify goods

Apr 13, 2014

Some 2 to 5 percent of all international trade involves counterfeit goods, according to a 2013 United Nations report. These illicit products—which include electronics, automotive and aircraft parts, pharmaceuticals, ...

New light on novel additive manufacturing approach

Apr 11, 2014

(Phys.org) —For nearly a century, electrophoretic deposition (EPD) has been used as a method of coating material by depositing particles of various substances onto the surfaces of various manufactured items. ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Quantum_Conundrum
not rated yet Dec 23, 2010
30 minutes...

Why, that would make FBM and Adoucette from the main forums a pair of know-nothings.

Nice design. They even put little stereotypical symbol reflections from point light source in the big ornaments.
CHollman82
not rated yet Dec 23, 2010
"Stereotypical"...?

Don't stereotype those Christmas tree bulbs, not all of them have those dirty light reflections!

More news stories

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.