Diamond engraving created for Diamond Jubilee

12th April 2012 - Fine Cut

Scientists have created what could be the world's smallest portrait of the Queen by engraving an image on a diamond, BBC News reports.

A gift entirely fit for a queen on such an occasion, the engraving has been produced to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee and it is hoped the gemstone might actually be presented to the monarch. It is the first time that such a portrait has been created, guardian.co.uk reports.

The precision engraving was made by Dr Michael Fay, Dr Christopher Parmenter and Professor Martyn Poliakoff from the University of Nottingham, forming part of their campaign to promote chemistry. Beams of charged gallium ions were used to engrave the portrait and the whole process was captured on video, which can be viewed on YouTube. 

"We basically blasted bits of the diamond out by firing heaving bits of atoms at the carbon of the diamond," explained Dr Fay. "We can do this very accurately and produce a very small image."

The engraving measures just 46 by 32 microns and depicts the Queen - plus crown - in silhouette as on a stamp. To put that into perspective, it would apparently fit on a standard-sized stamp some 300,000 times.

Professor Poliakoff was very pleased with the finished result, which he said looked exactly like the Queen "from a scientific point of view."

Categories: Articles
back to Insights