June 2, 2016, by Lindsay Brooke

The Queen asks for her tiniest birthday message to be kept for posterity in the Royal Library

The glass corgi which contains a strand of corgi hair etched with the Queen’s tiniest 90th birthday message is to be kept by the Royal Library at Windsor.

A letter from Buckingham Palace to Professor Andrei Khlobystov and everyone at the Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre at The University of Nottingham thanked them for their ‘innovative gift’. The letter from The Deputy Private Secretary to The Queen, Edward Young, said the Queen has asked that the corgi and accompanying birthday card be kept for posterity.

The unique 90th birthday message was placed in a glass corgi – specially made by Clive Dixon, The University of Nottingham glassblower – and sent to the Queen as a birthday gift along with a card which featured a picture of the birthday message.

To celebrate Her Majesty’s 90th birthday in April scientists based in the new Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre in the School of Chemistry etched their birthday wishes on the corgi hair using a beam of Gallium ions.

The hair was kindly donated by Cracker and CJ – two Corgis living in Nottinghamshire who are from the same blood line as the Queen’s corgis.












The hair was taken to the new Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre where the samples were carefully prepared for etching.


Corgi hair sample


The work was carried out on a Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscope manned by Dr Chris Parmenter. Chris is part of the interdisciplinary group of scientists who hold the world record for creating the smallest test tube and for writing the smallest version of the periodic table on a human hair. So, what better way for them to send a 90th birthday message to the Queen.

Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscope (FIB-SEM)

Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscope (FIB-SEM)

Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscope (FIB-SEM)

Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscope (FIB-SEM)









There is a serious side to this science. The NMRC will also host a state of the art electron beam lithography system; a powerful suite of surface characterisation equipment (X-ray photoelectron spectrometers, Raman microscopy); and a comprehensive sample preparation laboratory.

The new centre, officially opened the day before the Queen’s birthday, will allow us to peer into the fundamental world of the very, very small and address some of the major challenges facing humanity – medicine, materials for energy production, storage, electronic devices and novel catalysts.

For more information check out the full press release.

Posted in ScienceStaff