A Boy and His Atom

May 16, 2013 | ibm, moore's law, Engineering

We usually have the tendency on focusing on big events, big objects and big accomplishments, but sometimes these big accomplishments can be made by extremely small (100 million times) events.

I just watched a movie created by IBM called “A Boy and his Atom”. It is truly amazing.

IBM Engineers are able to move individual atoms to specific locations using a very sharp metal needle, and thought it would be a good idea to create the smallest movie ever using stop-motion techniques. The result is impressive, if you consider the fact that each carbon monoxide atom that you see in the movie has been magnified 100 million times! According to the Guinness Book of Records, this is the smallest stop-motion film ever recorded. Each of the 242 frames is a whopping 45 by 25 nanometers!

IBM is trying to break Moore’s law by using a different approach. Instead of making transistors smaller and smaller, so more can fit into a chip, they want to design from the ground up, one atom at a time. Currently it takes one million atoms to store one bit of data, but using the approach above, IBM was able to store one bit on a 12 atom structure! 1,000,000 to 12, I definitely call this impressive.

Make sure to watch not only the movie, but also the “making of clip".

 

About the Author

Martin Rudloff
Martin Rudloff is Chief Technical Officer at Corvalent. With 30+ years of experience in Electronics, Martin manages Concept to Development, Production and Validation, and Product Support.

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