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Forget dancing angels, try the entire Torah on a pinhead

by Adam Wills

December 21, 2007 | 6:34 am

Got a minyan? Check. Got the electron microscope so you can read the Torah? Check.

Scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology announced this week that they have printed the entire Torah onto a silicon chip smaller than a pinhead (less than 1/1000th of an inch).

The guy with the bright idea to write the Bible on such a tiny surface was physics professor Uri Sivan, who’s also head of the university’s Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute.

The text was written using a focused ion beam generator that shot tiny particles called Gallium ions onto a gold surface covering a base layer of silicon. The “writing” took just 90 minutes. The computer program that guided the FIB, however, took more than three months.

“The nano-Bible project demonstrates the miniaturization at our disposal,” Sivan said. “This research could lead to the creation of more advanced miniature structures—and imaging—on a nanometric scale, advances in storing information in very small spaces, and the use of DNA molecules to store information.”

The project was managed by graduate student Ohad Zohar and Dr. Alex Lahav, former head of the FIB laboratory in the Technion’s Wolfson Microelectronics Research and Teaching Center.

According to the researchers, the nano-bible will now be photographed and expand 10,000 times—and still be small enough to fit into a 75-square-foot frame to be hung in the Technion physics department. The photograph’s size will make it possible to read the entire Torah with the naked eye. The height of each letter will be three millimeters. The original nano-Bible will be displayed next to the photograph.

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