ASML sets Guinness World Record for the smallest advertisement

4-minute read - By Sue Todd, October 2, 2018

ASML’s lithography machines are used to create microchips on the nanometer scale (that’s a millionth of a millimeter), which in turn enables electronic devices to become cheaper, faster and more powerful. So, it may come as little surprise that ASML has set the Guinness World Records title for the world’s smallest advertisement, created with one of our lithography machines.

The world’s smallest advertisement has a surface area of 258 micrometers squared, measuring just 33.27 micrometers x 7.76 micrometers. It would easily be covered by a single strand of human hair, which are about 75 micrometers wide (one micrometer equals a thousandth of a millimeter).

From burger buns to chips

ASML’s advertisement is three times smaller than the previous Guinness World Record. US fast food chain Arby’s held the previous record, having produced a 735-micron squared ad on a sesame seed from one of its burger buns in June 2018.


The record-breaking smallest advertisement was unveiled today during a career event at RWTH Aachen University in Germany, where students could view the ad under an electron microscope. Students were also encouraged to share a photo from the event on Instagram using the hashtag #smallest_ad. ASML will cover a year’s worth of tuition fees for the student with the most creative image.

A photo of the world's smallest ad - ASML holds the GUINNESS WORLD RECORD

A view of ASML's record-breaking world's smallest ad

How do you make the world’s smallest ad?

ASML creates the machines that make microchips. So, we used our expertise to pattern our advertisement on a 300 millimeter wafer using one of our innovative lithography machines.

A wafer is simply an ultra-clean and super-smooth silicon disk where a microchip is patterned. It’s the foundation on which the multi-stage chip manufacturing process sits.

lithography in action

Here's how we made the ad

The wafer inside a FOUP (Front Opening Unified Pod, the industry standard for wafer transport) that ASML used to create its record-breaking world's smallest advertisement.;


Here’s the wafer inside a FOUP (Front Opening Unified Pod, the industry standard for wafer transport) we used to create the record-breaking advertisement.

The wafer containing ASML's Guiness World Record-breaking smallest advertisement being placed into a TWINSCAN NXT:1970Ci lithography machine.;

Lithography machine

To create the world’s smallest advert, the wafer was placed in one of our TWINSCAN NXT:1970Ci lithography machines.

A monitor showing the progress of a wafer being exposed to deep UV light in one of ASML's TWINSCAN NXT:1970Ci DUV lithography machines.;


The wafer was then exposed to deep UV light and progress of this process is visible on the monitor.

A wafer being transported inside a FOUP (Front Opening Unified Pod) in ASML's cleanroom in Veldhoven, the Netherlands.;


The wafer was then taken out of the TWINSCAN NXT1970Ci machine, carefully transported and washed so the text becomes visible. It’s a process similar to developing an old photograph.

A wafer being assessed in a scanning electron microscope in ASML's cleanroom in Veldhoven, the Netherlands.;

Scanning electron microscope

The wafer was then transported back to our scanning electron microscope to assess the advert.

Cleanroom technicians inspect the wafer containing the Guiness World Record-holding smallest advertisement at ASML in Veldhoven, the Netherlands.;


The total size of the advertisement was then recalculated on another device to check for accuracy. And that’s it! The wafer now carries the ad and witnesses inspect the result up close.

Do you want to be a record breaker?

Bagging a Guinness World Record is quite an achievement, but every stage to create our ad involved an intricate balance of machines, technologies, and expertise.


That’s the beauty of ASML. We don’t just build some of the world’s most amazing machines, we also need cutting-edge software to run them, and we work across various disciplines and worldwide locations to achieve this.


Whether you are a student or an experienced engineer, whether you want to design or build, work with customers or software code, we are looking for people like you to help us push our technology further. 

About the author

Sue Todd senior editor at ASML
  • Sue Todd
  • Senior editor
  • Sue is the content lead of ASML’s digital channels. Originally from London, she’s now rooted in the Netherlands.