Capturing, positioning and shaping atoms to create an original motion picture on the atomic-level is a precise science and entirely novel
Andreas Heinrich, IBM Research
The stop motion was made by a team of IBM’s nanophysicists not only having a bit of fun, but gaining amazing insight into how to move individual (yes, individual!) atoms.
Crucial in the field of atomic memory and data storage, a scanning tunnelling microscope uses a super-sharp needle to carefully select and move molecules of carbon monoxide along a copper surface to extremely precise locations. Then, in a similar fashion to more traditional stop-motion style capture, the 100-million times magnified image is recorded and then the atoms are moved again to create the next frame.
With the potential to create devices containing unprecedented levels of storage, this is a very exciting step towards the future of computing and “the new frontiers of math and science”.