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IBMs World’s Smallest Movie

Posted: May 6th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Applied Science, Physics | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on IBMs World’s Smallest Movie

IBMResearchers from tech-behemoth IBM have unveiled – confirmed by Guinness World Records –  the world’s smallest movie, made with atoms. Named A Boy And His Atom, the movie used thousands of precisely placed atoms to create nearly 250 frames of stop-motion action.

The movie depicts a character named Atom who befriends a single atom and goes on a journey that includes dancing, playing catch and bouncing on a trampoline. Set to a playful musical track, the movie represents a unique way to convey science outside the research community.

It takes around 1 million atoms to store a single bit of data on a computer, a bit being the basic unit of information in computing. Recently, IBM Research announced it can store that same bit of information in just 12 atoms.  In order to make the movie atoms were moved with a scanning tunnelling microscope. The microscope weighs two tonnes, operates at minus 268 degrees Celsius and magnifies the atomic surface more than 100 million times ::::

On it’s website, IBM Research says, “The ability to move single atoms, one of the smallest particles of any element in the universe, is crucial to IBM’s research in the field of atomic-scale memory. In 2012, IBM scientists announced the creation of the world’s smallest magnetic memory bit, made of just 12 atoms. This breakthrough could transform computing by providing the world with devices that have access to unprecedented levels of data storage. But even nanophysicists need to have a little fun. In that spirit, the scientists moved atoms by using their scanning tunneling microscope to make … a movie, which has been verified by Guinness World Records™ as The World’s Smallest Stop-Motion Film.”

It takes around 1 million atoms to store a single bit of data on a computer, a bit being the basic unit of information in computing that can have only one of two values, one or zero. Eight bits form a byte. Recently, IBM Research announced it can now store that same bit of information in just 12 atoms.

“Moving atoms is one thing; you can do that with the wave of your hand,” Andreas Heinrich, principal investigator from IBM Research said. “Capturing, positioning and shaping atoms to create an original motion picture on the atomic level is a precise science and entirely novel.”

In order to make the movie, the atoms were moved with a scanning tunnelling microscope. The microscope weighs two tonnes, operates at minus 268 degrees Celsius and magnifies the atomic surface more than 100 million times.

Remotely operated on a standard computer, researchers used the microscope to control a super-sharp needle along a copper surface to “feel” atoms. Only one nanometre from the surface, which is a billionth of a metre in distance, the needle can attract atoms and molecules on the surface and pull them to a specified location.

The moving atom makes a unique sound that is critical feedback in determining how many positions it has moved. As the movie was being created, the scientists rendered still images of the individually arranged atoms, resulting in 242 single frames.

As computer circuits shrink toward atomic dimensions, researchers are running into physical limitations using traditional techniques.

“As data creation and consumption continue to get bigger, data storage needs to get smaller, all the way down to the atomic level,” Mr Heinrich said. “We’re applying the same techniques used to come up with new computing architectures and alternative ways to store data to making this movie.”

source: guinness world records

source: ibm

source: youtube


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