Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Stop Motion Atoms

Stop motion animation can be done with anything that you can move one frame at a time.  But atoms?  IBM can do it.

"Obviously, this sort of stop-motion is a little more complex than your latest Vine. Every second millions of particles land on a typical surface, so this work had to be completed in a vacuum. And because atoms are feisty at room temperature, IBM used a scanning tunneling microscope to reach temperatures of -268 degrees Celsius (or 4-5 degrees Kelvin)—a point so close to absolute zero, most matter loses its hustle. To push and pull the atoms into place, scientists used a needle so sharp its point ends in a single atom. (Like the Earth and the moon, the needle doesn’t so much “touch” the atom as it does influence it.)"

Read more about it at Slate.

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