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Ni on Ni(110) Cross-Channel Adatom Diffusion

Page 3 - A glimpse at a small world.

The world of the atom is very small. The distance between the nickel (Ni) atoms is about 2 Angstroms. Comparing the distance between two nickel atoms in a crystal to a meter (yard) stick is like comparing one person to the world's population in size.

In the real world the atoms in a crystal move around. Since the distance between the atoms is very small, we must look at very small periods of time to see the motion. In the next animated gif file, times are recorded in pico-seconds - abbreviated as psec. A pico-second is one-trillionth¹ second. A pico-second is to a regular second what $15 U.S.² is to the national debt.

The nickel atoms are set into motion through a series of computations that use Newton's second law (force equals mass times acceleration). Click on the right-hand arrow to see the atoms in motion.

¹ The U.S. definition of a trillion is used, which is 1 followed by 12 zeros.
² Updated 11 May 2012.

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