Individual atoms moved, filmed for world's tiniest stop-motion movie

May 1, 2013 at 7:24 PM
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LOS ANGELES, May 1 (UPI) -- Researchers at IBM say their stop-motion animation film, the world's smallest, uses individual atoms to tell of a boy named Atom and his friend, an atom.

Each of the 242 frames, created by moving carbon atoms with the tiny tip of a scanning tunneling microscope, has been magnified more than 100 million times, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

"The tip of the needle is both our eyes and our hands: it senses the atoms to make images of where the atoms are, and then it is moved closer to the atoms to tug them along the surface to new positions," IBM researcher Andreas Heinrich said.

A thousand of the film frames laid side by side would be only as wide as a single human hair.

It took four scientists with decades of experience with atoms two weeks of 18-hour days to create the film, an IBM spokesman told the Times.

IBM researchers say the ability manipulate matter on the atomic level could be used to create future data storage solutions.

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