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A Movie Made from Atoms

Wednesday, May 01, 2013 - 06:30 PM

I think it's fair to say this film is pretty riveting, if only because it's made from...atoms:

A boy -- made of atoms!! -- falls in love with an atom (also played by an atom). To undertake such a tiny picture show, the IBM scientists manipulated one carbon monoxide molecule at a time to create stop-motion magic. The results are, literally, the world's smallest stop-motion film (it's got a Guinness World Record).

But the movie isn't just an artistic experiment -- by manipulating the atoms, the nanophysicists learned about atomic memory, a type of data storage that could help us pack ever more digital content -- such as the movies, books, and photographs you have stored on your smart phone -- into even smaller spaces (or devices). Could just a handful of atoms be used to store "every movie ever produced?" Watch this behind-the-scenes doc for more on the making of the film, and the science behind it:

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Comments [6]

Bill McKenney from Boston area

Was it just me or did you see the atoms waving too?

May. 05 2013 09:45 PM

omg amazing film thats crazy

May. 05 2013 03:48 PM
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May. 03 2013 04:51 AM
J Lan

Joey B, think of it as a radar image. You really aren't seeing the atom in the traditional sense. They are sending an electrical signal from a point to the silicon plate. When the signal hits an atom there is a change in the signal that they can measure so they know it's there. Sorta like when you see a fish on radar. You're not seeing the actual fish just a representation on its relative size and location from the sonar array.

May. 03 2013 03:45 AM
Joey B. from Maryland

What is in the space between the atoms then? The blank area you see on the screen which is not populated by the individual molecules? I understand this was created on the surface in the dish he shows (the small gold plate), but how can it be that the magnification is strong enough to show the atoms of carbon dioxide but not the atoms that make up the plate? Can anyone help me understand this?
Thanks!

May. 02 2013 11:43 AM
James Slater from Orlando Fla

Fantastic and amazing to believe this is really what I was seeing

May. 01 2013 10:40 PM

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