IBM Makes World's Smallest Movie Using Deadly Carbon Monoxide
May 1, 2013 10:00 AM
comment(s) - last by
Researchers also make tiny Star Trek stills
Dubbed "A Boy and His Atom" and certified by the Guinness World Book of Records as being the
smallest movie ever created
by mankind, International Business Machine Inc.'s (
scanning tunneling microscope (STM) technology
demonstration is generating an Oscar worthy buzz.
I. Directed by Tunneling Electrons
While the eventual goal of the IBM team is to use the STM or its successors to manipulate atoms to form tiny components like memory or transistors, IBM focused on as more light-hearted proof of concept.
In a one minute animation consisting of 242 frames of stop motion animation, with each frame measuring roughly 45 x 25 nanometers, the IBM researchers create a vivid scene of a boy befriending an "atom", then engaging in activities like "dancing, playing catch and bouncing on a trampoline."
In total 65 carbon monoxide molecules (consisting of two atoms each, for 130 total atoms) were positioned to create the objects in frame. The dots seen in frame are the oxygen atoms in the molecule. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless gas that is lethal to humans when inhaled in sufficient quantities.
In addition to the tiny movie, researchers also created a trio of stills to promote the upcoming
(Click to enlarge) [Image Source: IBM]
The stills show the iconic Federation logo, a Vulcan salute, and a tiny Starship Enterprise.
II. Towards <20 Atom Devices
IBM's Heinrich Rohrer and Gerd Binnig
won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986
for the invention of the STM, which allowed the first visualization of atoms. The STM works via hovering a tiny super-pointy copper probe over the surface. At 1 nm from the material surface the probe receives a small dose of tunneling electrons. The tool "scans" the surface, by moving parallel to the surface and adjusting the probe up and down to maintain constant current via the tunneling effect.
STMs can also be used to manipulate atoms on a nanoscopic scale. Moving atoms creates a unique sound, which IBM's equipment measures to determine how far it's been moved.
Christopher Lutz, Research Scientist, IBM Research, describes the STM used in the animation demo, remarking, "It weighs two tons, operates at a temperature of -268º Celsius (~-450º Fahrenheit) and magnifies the atomic surface over 100 million times. The ability to control the temperature, pressure and vibrations at exact levels makes our IBM Research lab one of the few places in the world where atoms can be moved with such precision."
The cold temperatures are necessary to keep the atoms standing almost still; at room temperature they would oscillate making it impossible to achieve accurate manipulation.
IBM last January
a study on the use of STM technology to create the world's smallest memory device --
a 12-atom iron (Fe) magnet
, which can store a bit of data. Current memory circuits take around 1 million atoms.
A high quality atomic-scale STM can cost up to $150,000 USD or more [
]. If you like hobby electronics and can dig up and oscilloscope, you can make your own crude STM for around $150 USD,
according to this guide
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
What an inane title
5/1/2013 11:59:45 AM
I suppose you can explain the value of the word "deadly."
Next week, you'll probably report of a schoolboy riding his bike to school on "shockingly round tires!"
"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
Scientists Cook Up 1-Atom Transistor, 12-Atom Magnetic Storage
February 20, 2012, 7:20 PM
World's Smallest Single-Molecule Electric Motor Developed
September 6, 2011, 4:45 PM
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Researchers Hope to Find "Exotic" Lifeforms Inside Crater of Dinosaur Killing Meteor
April 14, 2015, 8:47 PM
Mathematician's Sociological Formulation May Explain the "Hipster Paradox"
April 14, 2015, 1:13 PM
Most Popular Articles
Apple's First Fixes to iOS 9 Land w/ iOS 9.0.1 Release
September 23, 2015, 6:11 PM
Worth the Wait? Microsoft Teases at Windows 10 Flagship Phones to Air Oct. 6
September 15, 2015, 5:13 PM
Apple Watch Commands 2 in 3 Smart Watch Sales, WatchOS 2 Sweetens the Pitch
September 20, 2015, 6:07 PM
Breaking Bad: How to Crash Google's Chrome Browser With Just 8 Characters
September 23, 2015, 11:08 AM
Fakebook Pt. I: From "The Chive" to "AskMen"; How Facebook's Phonies are Born and Used
September 15, 2015, 4:00 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information