The world’s tiniest vinyl is so small it fits within the groove of a regular record

Sharp-sighted scientists have developed what’s been billed as the world’s tiniest record, pressing the minute vinyl with a Christmas carol classic. 

Scientists in Denmark have created the world’s smallest vinyl record, so tiny that it’s almost unseeable to the naked eye. Produced by a batch of sharp-sighted engineers at the Technical University of Denmark, the record measures in at a minuscule 15 x 15 micrometres (a unit usually reserved for measuring bacteria), and is small enough to fit within the groove of a regular-sized vinyl disc. 

The engineering team, led by Postdoctoral Fellow Nolan Lassaline, pressed the tiny record with a 25-second run of the Christmas track, Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree. The seconds-long song choice is especially welcome news given listeners’ collective dismay at the oversaturation of festive carols of late (ahem, Mariah Carey), with Lassaline explaining that the Brenda Lee song “is of course a little bit of Christmas fun”. 

Still of the world's smallest vinyl record
Credit: Still/ YouTube

For those interested in the physics, the record was created using the university’s Nanofrazer Scholar 3D lithography system (try saying that three times), which printed the minute grooves of the vinyl into polymer film. While Lassaline doesn’t foresee the rollout of mass-produced tiny records anytime soon (although Australia’s now-shuttered SANITY stores could’ve used it), he explained that the nanotechnology used to create the vinyl could be applied in other fields. 

[This project] is a very serious exercise for something that is important to our research”, Lassaline said. “While we make these kinds of grooves here with nanometre precision, we can transfer these to a number of other materials, where that will fundamentally allow us to manipulate material properties on a nanoscale. We are doing something that we have never really been able to do in physics and material science before now.” 

Lassaline said these developments in nanoscience could have implications for the measurement of brainwaves, with potential advances to be made in the research of conditions like Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s. It marks the latest music-meets-science development in recent months, with scientists discovering late last year that rats can bounce to the rhythm of some of the world’s biggest chart-toppers

For more vinyl news, head to Happy Mag’s  definitive guide to Sydney’s 5 best record stores here