Yesterday we got a peek at the combined power of nanotubes—technology that makes a rope-driven space elevator feasible—but what can just one do on its own? Berkeley researchers have discovered that one nanotube can be used as a tiny platform to determine the mass of a single atom.
When placed on the nanotube, the atom vibrates it like a diving board. This vibration is the key to the atom's mass, but measuring it proved a feat in itself. Researchers realised that by using radio waves they could overcome this obstacle and record the data.