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Monday, April 28, 2008

"World's Smallest Koran" not very impressive

From India's Economic Times:
DUBAI: The smallest copy of the Koran, the Islamic holy book, on display at The Bride Show here drew huge crowds at the recently concluded exhibition.

Almost one-third the size of its closest competitor, the 'miniature' Koran contains 10,000 lines engraved on sapphire measuring 58mm by 98mm which can be worn as pendant or a ring by brides and grooms on the wedding day, WAM news agency reported Monday.

The Koran has been engraved by Mir Emad Mokhtari with help of the latest advances in nanotechnology and has been officially registered as the smallest copy of the Holy Book at Astan-e Qods Razavi's Quran museum in Iran.
Is this an impressive display of Islamic nanotechnology?

This Koran fits in a space of roughly 2" x 4". This sounds more like microfiche than nanotechnology.

But last year, at Israel's Technion, they fit the entire Hebrew Bible - with diacritical marks! - in a space smaller than a pinhead:
The entire vowelled-Hebrew text of the Bible has been inscribed by Technion scientists on a gold-coated silicon surface smaller than the head of a pin.

The idea to inscribe the whole biblical text using a focussed-ion device was that of Prof. Uri Sivan, director of the Berrie Institute, and the project was carried out by Ohad Zohar, the center's physics education adviser, along with Dr. Alex Lahav, formerly lab director of the Wolfson Center for Microelectronics.

When the ions are shot at the surface, gold ions are removed from a 20-nanometer-wide spot to expose the darker silicon substrate underneath. A nanometer is equal to one billionth of meter or one millionth of a millimeter. The resulting letters can be observed only with a scanning electron microscope.

The nano-Bible will be photographed and expanded 10,000 times, and still be able to fit into a seven-by-seven-meter frame, to be hung in the Technion's physics faculty. The photograph will make it possible to read the entire Bible with the naked eye, and the height of each letter will be three millimeters.

Zohar said the original nano-Bible, the size of a crystal of sugar, would be displayed next to the photograph.
A sugar crystal (granulated, regular)is about 0.5 mm long. Which means that Technion managed to make their Hebrew Bible some 1/10000 the size of the Koran being touted here.

UPDATE: Mir Mokhtari, the inventor, clarifies things in my comments:
Hi, putting political disputes aside and sticking to the science and maths... the size is actually miss printed. It should read ten times smaller in both dimensions. The technology uses a 5nm spot size and has resolution better than 9nm around the edge of the words. We too could have made one much smaller, but you have to understand marketing and practicality. No point exhibiting something that requires a $1million SEM tool to be dragged around with. Also the value added to this art piece is the fact that it stands 1400degress heat during commissioning in jewellery and is scratch proof to extremely high impacts and can be worn on day to day basis. We managed to convince people all the words are there with a $5 handheld magnifier. Sometimes understanding people goes a longer way than understanding the technology....
Fair enough, the intent wasn't to set a technological record but to create a piece of jewelry.