In 2007, artist Robert Chaplin succeeded in making the World’s Smallest Book by carving a series of letterforms onto a microchip. Now he wants to release a printed version that readers can enjoy without the aid of an electron microscope…
To make his original copy of Teeny Ted From Turnip Town, Chaplin was granted access to a focussed ion beam and scanning electron microscope at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia in Canada.
“In my time working with this equipment I designed and published an original work on a microchip, as an array of 30 tablets,” writes Chaplin. The 30 tablets are shown on the microchip in the image above – the chip itself is thinner than a human hair.
“The tablets contain the text of Teeny Ted From Turnip Town, complete with an ISBN. In 2012 I received a Guinness World Record confirming my creation of the smallest book yet made.”
His consummate skills with an ion beam aside, what’s particularly appealing about the work is the type that Chaplin came up with – where the size of the microchip format dictated how he carved the letterforms.
Aware of the restrictions, Chaplin traced the letters into the ‘single-crystalline silicon’ surface, often creating the outline of two letters with the same line, hence the squished-together and stacked appearance of the type. Each letter is carved with a line resolution of 42 nanometres (a nanometre is one millionth of a millimetre).
The microchip version, which can’t be seen with the naked eye (or even with a regular microscope) is to date the only copy of the book, so Chaplin now wants to publish a standard sized printed version that, he says, won’t get lost on the bookshelf. He has set up a Kickstarter to help get that part of the project underway.
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