The world's smallest coronation tribute is engraved with letters half the width of a human hair

Cranfield University have created miniature golden royal monogram symbols to celebrate King Charles III’s forthcoming coronation
Sometimes it's the little things: The special carving was created with a powerful precision ion beam microscope. Credit: Cranfield University

Experts at a university have created a special tiny tribute to King Charles ahead of his coronation - which includes parts half the width of a human hair.

Rather than knock out a new tea towel or commemorative plate, the manufacturing experts at Cranfield University decided to turn out something a little smaller.

In fact, the engraving they produced is so small that it can only be seen using a powerful microscope.

Gold microscopic letters – each a fraction of the width of a human hair – form part of a commemorative piece to mark the King’s coronation.

It depicts the official cyphers of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla and lettering below reads: “Westminster Abbey 6th May 2023.”

The framed exhibit was created using a focused ion beam scanning electron microscope.

The microscope works by bombarding a sample with a beam of ions to selectively remove material.

The device is usually used to examine evidence of micro defects within aerospace technology, such as engine components.

The King is famously an advocate of sustainability and so might like to know that the letters were made using recycled gold.

Cranfield University’s Dr Diane Johnson said the project took around two hours to manufacture.

"This project not only showcases our expertise in nanotechnology and microscopy, but also demonstrates a way in which we can use our equipment in a creative and unusual way," she said.

“To create this microscopic message, we used a very high purity 99.99% piece of gold foil measuring 15mm x 10mm x 0.2mm thick.

“With these microscopic symbols, we have marked the special and historic occasion of the Coronation of King Charles III.”

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