An attogram is one-thousandth of a femtogram, or a thousandth, millionth, billionth of a gram.
April 7, 2004 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Zepto science Scientists have developed a device able to measure the weight of a single cell, and they intend to weigh a virus next.
posted by mcgraw (4 comments total)

mcgraw, this has nothing to do with the Greenland ice cap being 'doomed to meltdown!'
posted by mcgraw at 1:27 PM on April 7, 2004

crazy business. for a handy list of all the metric prefixes: here (scroll down a bit).
also (from

pref. One sextillionth (10-21): zeptosecond.
[From alteration of Latin septem, seven (from its representing the seventh power of a thousandth). See septet.]

and I was hoping that there was some cool guy named Zepto, oh well.
posted by garethspor at 1:55 PM on April 7, 2004

They have used tiny oscillating cantilevers to detect masses as small as 6 attograms by noting the change an added mass produces in the frequency of vibration.

Brilliant simple idea. Here is the Craighead reasearch group's sub-attogram mass detection project page. Lotta really cool stuff going on!
posted by roboto at 3:18 PM on April 7, 2004

That Craighead... too important to answer his emails... not good enough for his research group... I'll show him...

/walks off mumbling incoherently and shaking his fist at tiny invisible nanomachines

But seriously, the work on sorting DNA strands is quite something... check out roboto's link to the group website. I believe there's a video there where you can actually see DNA strands of different lengths travel different distances across a nanofabricated array when a voltage is applied.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:04 PM on April 7, 2004

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