A team of researchers from the Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology in Barcelona has developed the most accurate scales of history, capable of distinguishing the smallest unit of mass, yoctogram. A yoctogram is a billionth of a billionth of one millionth of a gram.
In order to measure with such precision, the team of scientists have used the carbon nanotubes, which vibrates at different frequencies depending on the mass of particles or molecules located on them.
Until the success of Catalan researchers, the smallest measurable mass was 100 yoctograms, ie 1/10 of a zeptogram. Using these nanotubes in vacuum to eliminate interference from other atoms, team led by Bachtold could measure the world’s first mass of a proton particle weighing 1.7 yoctograms.
Bachtold hopes that the success of his team will use scales to measure various elements of the chemical samples, where differences can be only a few protons. Also, the scales developed by his team can be used in medicine to diagnose diseases by measuring the proton level of markers indicating the presence of disease.