Technology & Science

Scientists shrink Hebrew Bible to size of sugar grain

Scientists have succeeded in writing a full version of the Hebrew Bible — including vowel points — in a space smaller than the size of a pinhead.

Scientists have succeeded in writing a full version of the Hebrew Bible — including vowel points — in a space smaller than the size of a pinhead.

Israeli scientists have inscribed the 300,000-word Hebrew Bible onto a 0.5-square-millimetre chip. ((Ariel Schalit/Associated Press))

Using a scientific device called a Focused Ion Beam, scientists in Israel wrote the 300,000-word tome onto a 0.5-square-millimetre chip.

Tiny particles of gallium ions were beamed onto a silicon surface covered with a thin layer of gold (20 nanometres thick) to create the etching — similar, they said, to using a stream of water to carve into soft soil.

The nano-Bible project was developed by the Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute as part of an educational program that asked: "How small can the Bible be?"

The project looked at how to store information using small DNA or other bio-molecules, as well as how to create nanometric structures and imaging.

"The nano-Bible project demonstrates the ability of miniaturization at our disposal," said Ohad Zohar, the institute's scientific adviser for educational programs, in a recent press release.

The team is now trying to photograph the nano-Bible using special technology in order to enlarge it 10,000 times for display on a giant wall.

"In this picture, which will be seven metres by seven metres, it will be possible to read the entire Bible with the naked eye. Near this picture, the original— the nano-Bible itself, which is the size of a grain of sugar— will be displayed," Zohar said.

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