May 26, 2006
Big hockey fan creates smallest Oilers logo
Nano-sized logo the width of a human hair
by Ileiren Byles
It gives a whole new meaning to 'hockey hair.' The smallest Edmonton Oilers logo in the world is just barely the width of a human hair – the Ryan Smyth jokes almost write themselves.
Kristy Beinert, a technician in the University of Alberta's NanoFab Lab, has created Edmonton's team sign in miniature. The logo is 0.0001 metres wide; the oil drop in its centre is less than one-tenth that size.
"The logo is basically just a tiny dot, and you have to squint to see that," said Beinert. "You could fit 16,000,000 of them into the regular logo that's on the players' jerseys."
NanoFab is an open-access micro and nano fabrication facility for the university community and researchers from across the country. The micro and nano fabrication equipment there is unequalled in Canada, with more than $18 million worth of process equipment - and some loyal fans of the Oilers. The team earned its way to the NHL western conference final for the first time since 1992.
"I come from a long line of Oilers fans," laughed Beinert. "Back in the glory days, we used to get to stay up late and watch the playoff games, even when they went into overtime. It was always exciting."
And when the Oil squeaked into the playoffs this time around, Beinert decided to make a statement on a project she was working on.
"The rest of the pattern is for releasing cantilevers and other release devices, but this was just for the novelty. We decided to throw a couple fun things on the pattern in addition to the functional stuff," she said. "We've basically just patterned a little tiny Oilers logo onto the silicon wafer and then etched it down a little bit with some chemical processes to give it a bit of depth for the image. It wasn't anything that was supposed to be functional, it was just for fun."
Beinert is hoping her mini-logo packs some major playoff mojo. "I try to be optimistic, but try not to get my hopes up either," she said before Wednesday's game. "But, if we take it tonight we'll go all the way. That's my overall prediction."
Perhaps there's a market of Oilers micro-implants for those fans who want to say they've really got the Oilers in their blood. "I don't know how many people would go for that, but you could....," laughed Beinert.