Everyone loves to a receive greeting card. Whether it is for a birthday, an anniversary or a celebration, they let us know we are being thought of by our nearest and dearest. But what happens when the card is so small, you can’t even read it? This is exactly what a team from the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre at the University of Glasgow have done to celebrate the Chinese New Year (and to show off their world leading nanotechnology). The team has created a greeting card that is so small, it is invisible to the naked eye!

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The world’s smallest greeting card, which measures 300 micro-meters wide by 200 micro-meters tall, wishes the receiver warm health and prosperity during the Year of the Dragon. It also symbolizes the partnership and collaboration between Scotland and China in producing such technology.

To put its size intocomext, a single micro-meter is one-millionth of a meter. That means the average human hair is about 100 micro-meters in width. The card is so small that it could reportedly fit on a 36mm by 36mm Chinese New Year commemorative postage stamp 21,600 times over.

The whole card, which consists of Chinese characters and a dragon image, was etched on a small piece of glass by Professor David Cumming and Dr. Qin Chen, and only took 30 minutes.

Speaking to the Press Association, 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 colors 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.

“All these applications are critical in the future development of the digital economy and the emerging healthcare technology markets. Within a home environment, this technology could eventually find its way into cameras, television and computer screens to reduce the manufacturing cost.”

That’s great – but let’s hope the person that receives the card has a microscope!

+ James Watt Nanofabrication Centre

Via The Press Association