Cranfield University’s manufacturing experts have designed miniature royal monogram symbols in gold to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III. These symbols are incredibly tiny, and one needs a powerful microscope to observe them. The commemorative piece features gold microscopic letters, each only a fraction of the width of a human hair, displaying the official cyphers of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. The text underneath reads, “Westminster Abbey 6th May 2023.”
Using a focused ion beam scanning electron microscope (FIB-SEM), the exhibit was created and is being displayed next to high-magnification images to honor the significant event. Cranfield University’s electron microscopy suite employed ion microscopes routinely utilized to examine micro defects within aerospace technology such as engine components to create this exhibit. Furthermore, the exhibit’s letters were crafted using recycled gold from the coating equipment employed to prepare samples for imaging in the microscope. This demonstrates how innovative technology and sustainability can merge to commemorate an important occasion.
The team was led by Cranfield University’s Dr Diane Johnson, Senior Technical Officer – Materials Characterisation (SEM), with the project taking around two hours to manufacture.
Dr Johnson said: “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.
“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.”
Get more detail in the video.