would it be possible to pick up an object by one of its atoms so when you pulled on the atom upwards, the entire object would lift along with it

for instance, if you had an extremely small robot arm that could grab hold of a single atom of , lets say a 1 inch by one inch aluminum cube, if the arm started to lift the atom upwards, would the atomic bonds hold and would the entire object lift together held up by a single atom?

would this be possible to achieve? if not ,what would have to happen to allow for this situation to happen? if it is possible, what would be the practical applications ?

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    $\begingroup$ The atomic bonds won't break from having an arm manhandle it, it that were the case, air molecules and atoms would break easier than glass. $\endgroup$ – Skye Sep 26 '16 at 13:51
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    $\begingroup$ It's worth noting that one cannot "hold something by an atom". Atoms alone are very slippery, and there is no such thing as friction when you scale things down to that level. $\endgroup$ – user23110 Sep 26 '16 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ Force, which u can apply to that 1 inch cube determined by energy bond of that atom to that cube, and that is a little force indeed. $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg Sep 26 '16 at 14:41
  • $\begingroup$ The robotic arm would have to have component smaller than atoms, so this is not possible. $\endgroup$ – ApproachingDarknessFish Sep 26 '16 at 15:47
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    $\begingroup$ Are you trying to ask if a mono-filament is possible? (A long chain approaching a single atom per chain link) If such thing could be manufactured, it would be extremely thin (probably not visible to the naked eye) but it would not be a single atom but molecule (group of atoms). $\endgroup$ – David Sep 26 '16 at 18:02

Since you didn't request science-based or hard-science I'm going to give a quick answer based on some more common-sense science.

There's not even remotely enough cohesive strength between the one atom and the rest of the aluminum. It'd be like trying to pick up a 10,000 lb weight by a thin copper wire, but much, much worse. Much worse.

To give you an idea, you're lifting it by 1 atom. This one atom will be leveraged to support the mass of 60,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (roughly) other atoms.

Good luck.

How to fix this? I... don't think there's anything you can do to fix this problem. Sorry, you're just dealing with fundamental forces of nature; we haven't engineered anything to really affect these to a great deal (if affecting them to a great deal is even possible), at least in a controlled manner.

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    $\begingroup$ actually this can be fixed, but in a boring way: have the object to be lifted small enough. Technically, that is a valid answer. But yes... i know... $\endgroup$ – Burki Sep 26 '16 at 14:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Burki That's the sort of out-of-the-cube thinking we like around here! And a solution I hadn't thought of. $\endgroup$ – Ranger Sep 26 '16 at 14:49
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    $\begingroup$ So how many atoms can you lift with one atom? Anyone up to do the math? $\endgroup$ – Mike Nichols Sep 26 '16 at 15:57

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