Dances with Atoms, IBM Makes a Film With Atoms

Dances with Atoms is a perfect blend of art and science on film. The brilliant nano physicists at IBM invented a technology that allows them to move single atoms – the smallest particles of any element in the universe – to form any shape they desire. So what did they do with this ground breaking technology? Well, a short film of course. There isn’t a better way to drum up further funding than marketing a cute video with power house science behind it.

You’re about to see the movie that holds the Guinness World Records™ record for the World’s Smallest Stop-Motion Film. In the video we are introduced to Adam and his Atom, as they enjoy a fun play date. If you’re like me, you’ll also want to see how the video was made which is included below the actual video on this page.

IBM researchers used a scanning tunneling microscope to move thousands of carbon monoxide molecules (two atoms stacked on top of each other), all in pursuit of making a movie so small it can be seen only when you magnify it 100 million times. To give that some scale: if the atom was the size of an orange, and that orange was magnified 100 million times, it would be the size of the earth.

This new method of moving single atoms is crucial to IBM’s research in the field of atomic memory. That is, they hope to use this as a way to store data in the future; move over flash drive, cloud storage, and hard drives here comes the atom drive.

IBM says they will be creating a series of short videos in the future, so stay tuned for the sequels.

Learn more about atomic memory, data storage and big data at

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