Magnifying carbon monoxide (CO) atoms to over 100 million times their actual size, arranging them into a series of 242 still images, and then animating them together, scientists at IBM Research have made the smallest movie ever. Wait, how small is that again?
“If an atom was the size of an orange, then the orange would be the size of the whole planet Earth.”
The 60-second movie, “with a frame size of only 45 nanometres by 25 nanometres (45 x 25 billionths of a metre)”, is called A Boy and His Atom. In 2013, it was Guinness World Records-verified to be the smallest stop-motion film in the world:
“Individual molecules of carbon monoxide were “placed” as pixels on a copper sheet to create each frame of the film. The molecules were positioned using a Scanning Tunnelling Microscope (STM), which uses an ultra-fine metal tip to move the molecules with electrical charge… Once the molecules of carbon monoxide were in place in each frame, the STM took 4 min 53 sec to scan the whole frame to build up the image recorded on film. This process was meticulously repeated for each frame.”
See how scientists Susanne Baumann, Andreas Heinrich, Christopher Lutz and Ileana Rau made the movie below:
Then watch these videos next on TKSST:
• Just how small is an atom?
• Atoms Explained by Kurzgesagt
• The Ring of Truth: Noodles & the principle of halving