Caltech-led physicists create first-ever mechanical device that measures the mass of a single molecule.
A nanometer-sized beam like this one can measure the mass of individual molecules. The insets show two different ways the beam can vibrate. Image: Scott Kelber, Michael Roukes and Mehmet Selim Hanay By Adrian Cho, ScienceNOW Like a miniscule bathroom scale
At just a couple millionths of a meter, the device can weigh things as small as viruses, proteins and nanoparticles, helping scientists diagnose diseases and measure air pollution.