A Boy and His Atom
⚛ How do you make the world’s smallest movie? By moving atoms, one at a time. Certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, this stop motion animation made by IBM nanophysicists only lasts 60 seconds and shows a tiny atomic “boy” jumping on an atomic trampoline and playing with his
ball atom, magnified 100 million times. It took 242 frames, each made by a scanning tunneling microscope that weighs 2 tons and operates at -268 degrees Celsius (or 450.5 degrees below zero on the Fahrenheit scale). A needle comes within 1 nanometer of each atom (actually diatomic carbon monoxide), grabs and drags it across the surface of a tiny chip to a new location..you can hear the dragging sound in the “behind the scenes” movie.
⚛ Why was this movie made? According to Moore’s Law, chip performance doubles every 18 months, as the individual transistors become smaller. Currently, it takes about a million atoms to store individual bits of data, but IBM scientists see that number shrinking to 12. At this size, you could fit every movie made on your iPhone. Moving individual atoms precisely becomes important at these tiny dimensions. Hey, scientists like to have fun too! And, as Andreas Heinrich says, if a thousand kids watching A Boy and His Atom decide to go into science instead of law, that’s a win for #STEM . Sorry, lawyers, you had Law and Order 🙂