ChevScience

A weblog of popular science

World’s most sensitive scales

Posted by ChevScience on June 1, 2012

How do you weigh an atom down to the last proton? With scales accurate enough to measure the smallest unit of mass, aka the yoctogram.

That is 0.000000000000000000000001 grams!

No ordinary scales will do ‐ the tiniest weights are measured using nanotubes, which vibrate at different frequencies depending on the mass of the particles or molecules on them. Until now, 100 yoctograms ‐ or a tenth of a zeptogram ‐ was the smallest mass the most sensitive sensor could detect.

Now scientists have been able to weigh an atom of xenon to the nearest yoctogram, or 10-24 grams. This makes it the first scale capable of detecting a single proton, which weighs in at 1.7 yoctograms. Learn more here.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: