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Cold sliver may sense electron quiver

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9:30pm, April 2, 2001

Using a sliver of material shaped like a diving board or cantilever, researchers have detected a force that's a billionth the strength of a typical chemical bond. At 800 zeptonewtons, it's the most sensitive measurement of mechanical force ever.

This exquisite sensitivity may finally make it possible to mechanically detect a single electron's magnetism, say Dan Rugar and John Mamin of IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif.

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