A Boy and His Atom: The World’s Smallest Movie

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A Boy and His Atom: The World’s Smallest Movie


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“If an atom was the size of an orange, then the orange would be the size of the whole planet earth.”

Believe it or not, you’ve just watched the Guinness World Records-certified world’s smallest movie. Produced by a team of IBM nanophysicists, the movie was compiled from images captured using a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) operating at near-absolute zero and magnified 100 million times. Each frame in the movie measures approximately 1/20,000th the width of a human hair, while the movie itself is comprised of 242 frames. Like any film-based makers, they storyboarded their concept, with each frame requiring more than one hour to move the atoms into place for capture:


Just as fascinating as the movie itself are the team and tech behind this stop-motion animation, captured in this making-of video:

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The IBM Research ‘made with atoms’ website contains a lot more information about this world’s smallest movie set.

[via ExtremeTech]

6 thoughts on “A Boy and His Atom: The World’s Smallest Movie

  1. Bill Justic says:

    I can’t believe that this isn’t flooded with comments already. This is the future! 10 years from now we will all be carrying devices that today we couldn’t imagine possible because of this technology. Thanks, Make, for posting this!!!

  2. zastil says:

    Amazing work IBM, Just as good a Nottingham UK professor had the periodic table etched onto a strand of hair with a laser in the nanoscale. Amazing work by both!

  3. Diana says:

    WOW! Soon we will be able to store our conscious mind….and never die!

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I'm an artist & maker. A lifelong biblioholic, and advocate for all-things geekathon. Home is Long Island City, Queens, which I consider the greatest place on Earth. 5-year former Resident of Flux Factory, co-organizer for World Maker Faire (NYC), and blogger all over the net. Howdy!

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