Scots scientists create Chinese New Year card so small it’s invisible to naked eye

The tiny card, said to be the world's smallest, measures 300 micro-metres wide by 200 micro-metres tall
The tiny card, said to be the world's smallest, measures 300 micro-metres wide by 200 micro-metres tall
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Experts at Glasgow University have created a Chinese New Year card that is invisible to the naked eye because it is so small.

The card was unveiled by Nanotechnology experts.

It expresses warm wishes for health and prosperity during the Year of the Dragon from Scotland to China.

It also acts as an invitation for collaboration and partnership in cutting-edge technology between the two countries.

The university said it represents the “huge potential” for China to profit from Scottish innovation.

The tiny card, said to be the world’s smallest, measures 300 micro-metres wide by 200 micro-metres tall. One micro-metre is one-millionth of a metre and the width of a human hair is about 100 micro-metres.

It is so small that it could fit on a 36mm by 36mm Chinese new year commemorative postage stamp 21,600 times over.

The card was produced at the institution’s James Watt Nanofabrication Centre ahead of the country’s new year celebrations, which begin on Monday.

Professor David Cumming and Dr Qin Chen, from the university’s school of engineering, etched the Chinese characters and dragon image on to a very small piece of glass.

The manufacturing process only took 30 minutes and is said to be highly repeatable.

Prof Cumming said: “The future applications of nanotechnology are vast, but the nature of nanotechnology can be difficult to express to the public. Making this Chinese New Year card was a simple way to show how accurate our technology is.

“The colours were produced by plasmon resonance in a patterned aluminium film made in our James Watt Nanofabrication Centre.

“The underlying technology has some very important real world applications in bio-technology sensing, optical filtering and light control components, and advances in micro and nanofabrication for the electronics industry.”