IBM Creates “World’s Smallest Movie” Starring Actual Atoms

Posted May 1, 2013

IBM has announced a new short film that stars actual atoms.  The film is called called A Boy and His Atom.  IBM created the film by enlarging a microscope focused on atoms.  The film was created using 250 stop-motion frames that shows a boy playing with his pet.

To put together the film, IBM used a two-ton scanning-tunneling microscope that can operate at minus 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  The microscope used a sharp needle within 1 nanometer of a copper surface to attract and physically move each atom one-by-one, according to Mashable.

Did IBM develop this technology just to create an animated film?  Definitely not.  The company created the atomic-manipulation technique to pursue efficient storage technologies.  By being able to store data on individual atoms, the company would be able to create very high-tech and scalable storage solutions.

In 2012, IBM received a record of 6,478 patents.  It was the 20th consecutive year that IBM topped in the annual list of U.S. patent recipients.