IBM scientists have too much time on their hands ;)


I thought I would bring your attention to some recent work by IBM scientists Andreas Heinrich, Christopher Lutz, Susanne Baumann and Ileana Rau in Almaden who have been working on the world’s smallest video – 240ish frames captured from a scanning tunneling microscope (a Nobel-winning IBM invention)taking images of atoms on a Cu surface tell the story of ‘a boy and his atom’.  Don Eigler (again, an IBM scientist) pioneered this kind of technique back in the 90s when he wrote IBM in atoms on a surface.  He went on to build the quantum corral, the quantum mirage and ultimately molecular computers (along with Heinrich from the current work), which were not suitable for actual use because of several factors, including their necessary operation at liquid He temperatures, the time taken for setup of a single operation, and the lack of a reset mechanism.  Nevertheless, the observation of signal processing by assemblies of individual molecules is one of the things that has come closest to the idea of molecular nanotechnology as envisaged by Feynman and (rather more fancifully) K. Eric Drexler.


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