President Obama to be Presented with Nano-Sized Declarations of Independence

Gift celebrates Israel's evolution from its past to today's high-tech nation

In a ceremony to be held on Wednesday, March 20, in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will present U.S. President Barack Obama with nano-sized inscribed replicas of the Declarations of Independence of the United States and the State of Israel.  Created by scientists at the Technion's Russell Berrie Nanotechnology Institute (RBNI), at the request of PM Netanyahu, the Declarations appear side-by-side on a gold-coated silicon chip smaller than a pinhead.  The juxtaposition symbolizes the shared values of both countries.

Declarations of Independence
Chip containing U.S. and Israeli Declarations of Independence, on Jerusalem stone


The area of the etched inscriptions is 0.04 square millimeters, and 0.00002 millimeters (20 nanometers) deep. The chip is affixed to a Jerusalem Stone dating to the Second Temple Period (1st Century BCE to 1st Century CE).

“This unique application of cutting-edge technology is just one example of Israel’s remarkable leadership in high-tech,” said Technion President Peretz Lavie.

The text was written using a focused ion beam (FIB) generator that shot tiny particles called Gallium ions onto a gold surface covering a base layer of silicon.  In a process that can be likened to digging a hole in the earth using a water jet, the ion beam etched the surface of the gold layer, making the underlying silicon layer visible.

The original image was translated into etching instructions using a special program developed for this purpose by Dr. Ohad Zohar, who conducted his Ph.D. under Prof. Uri Sivan of the Technion Physics Department. The engraving was done by Dr. Tzipi Cohen-Hyams, head of the RBNI Focused Ion Beam Lab. Other members of the team were Prof. Wayne D. Kaplan, Prof. Nir Tessler, Mr. Yaacov Shneider, Dr. Orna Ternyak, and Ms. Svetlana Yoffis.  The work was conducted in the Technion’s Sara and Moshe Zisapel Nanoelectronics Center and the Wolfson Microelectronics Research and Teaching Center.

This is not the first time the Technion has been called upon to create an important gift for a visiting dignitary.  In May of 2009, Pope Benedict XVI received a Technion-created “Nano Bible” from Israeli President Shimon Peres. 

To watch a video about the making of the nano-sized U.S. and Israeli Declarations of Independence, click here. 

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is a major source of the innovation and brainpower that drives the Israeli economy, and a key to Israel’s renown as the world’s “Start-Up Nation.” Its three Nobel Prize winners exemplify academic excellence. Technion people, ideas and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world including life-saving medicine, sustainable energy, computer science, water conservation and nanotechnology. 

American Technion Society (ATS) donors provide critical support for the Technion—more than $1.78 billion since its inception in 1940. Based in New York City, the ATS and its network of chapters across the U.S. provide funds for scholarships, fellowships, faculty recruitment and chairs, research, buildings, laboratories, classrooms and dormitories, and more.


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