A force to reckon

 
By A Asha
Published: Tuesday 15 May 2001

What's the weight of five atoms? About 1,000 zeptonewtons -- one divided by 10 22 of one newton force. The use of the minute force could be used to give invaluable insight into the structure of atoms. Scientists at the IBM Center, based in California, usa , have developed a microscope that can sense a mind-bogglingly minute force of about 1,000 zeptonewtons. The team refined magnetic resonance force microscopy, a technique in which a tiny magnet is suspended from a cantilever and it scans the surface of the material. The force on the magnet is detected which reveals the structure of the surface.

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