The stop-motion animation uses a few dozen carbon atoms, moved around with the tiny tip of what is called a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM).

It would take about 1,000 of the frames of the film laid side by side to span a single human hair.

The extraordinary feat of atomic precision has been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records.

It is a showpiece for IBM's efforts to design next-generation data storage solutions based on single atoms.

IBM's scientists have been behind a number of technologies that can peer into atomic and molecular systems - their recent efforts using a related machine called an atomic force microscope have yieldedpictures of single molecules and even images that detail the atomic bonds within molecules.

The new movie, titled A Boy and His Atom, instead uses the STM, an IBM invention which garnered the scientists behind it the 1986 Nobel prize in physics.