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Israeli researchers write 'nano-Bible'

Posted: 21 Dec 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:nano-Bible  nanomaterial  gallium ion 

Technion Israel Institute of Technology researchers have announced they have successfully put the full version of the Hebrew Bible, with vowel points, on a region measuring 0.5mm², an area smaller than the size of a pinhead.

The nano-Bible was written as part of an educational program developed by the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute. The program aims to increase interest, on the part of youth, in nanoscience and nanotechnology. The idea to write the entire Bible on an area smaller than a pinhead was conceived of by Professor Uri Sivan, head of the Nanotechnology Institute. The project was managed by physics' doctoral student Ohad Zohar, the institute's scientific advisor for educational programs, together with Alex Lahav, former head of the focused ion beam (FIB) laboratory in the Wolfson Microelectronics Research and Teaching Center.

The nano-Bible, written on a silicon surface covered with a 20nm layer of gold, was made using gallium ions sent in a stream by the FIB. The ions hit the object with high energy and knock atoms of the material off the sample, thus etching it. This is similar to digging a small hole in the earth using a water jet from a hose. The structure of the nano-Bible was built using a special computer program developed in the project's framework, which enables etching text on the surface layer.

"When we send the particle beam toward a point on the surface, the gold atoms bounce off of this point, thus exposing the silicon layer underneath. The diameter of the exposed point is about 40nm. When we look at the written example using a scanning electron microscope, the exposed silicon point looks darker than the gold surrounding it. By sending a particle beam towards various points on the substrate, we can etch any pattern of points, especially one that represents text," said Zohar.

The nano-Bible project is part of an educational program that asks the following question: "How small can the Bible be?" The program uses this intriguing question in order to investigate modern methods of creating miniature structures and imaging on a nanometric scale, to present advanced technology for high-density information storage and to discuss future topics such as information storage using DNA molecules or other bio-molecules.

"The nano-Bible project demonstrates the ability of miniaturisation at our disposal. We are working hard at present on photographing the nano-Bible using the SEM, with the aim of enlarging the photo by 10,000 times and displaying it on a giant wall in the Technion's Faculty of Physics. In this picture, which will be 7-by-7m, it will be possible to read the entire Bible with the naked eye (the height of each letter will be some 3mm). Near this picture, the original nano-Bible itself, which is the size of a grain of sugar, will be displayed," explained Zohar.

- Amir Ben-Artzi
EE Times Europe




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