Breakthrough in Measurement of Nano Movement

 
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:22 pm    Post subject: Breakthrough in Measurement of Nano Movement Reply with quote

Breakthrough in Measurement of Nano Movement
IBM scientists, in collaboration with the University of Regensburg in Germany, are the first ever to measure the force it takes to move individual atoms on a surface. This fundamental measurement provides important information for designing future atomic-scale devices: computer chips, miniaturized storage devices, and more.


Illustration of an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) tip measuring the force it takes to move a cobalt atom on a crystalline surface. The ability to measure the exact force it takes to move individual atoms is one of the keys to designing and constructing the small structures that will enable future nanotechnologies.

According to the researchers, understanding the force necessary to move specific atoms on specific surfaces is one of the keys to designing and constructing the small structures that will enable future nanotechnologies. The team says that, in the nanotechnology realm, rigid structures require strongly bonded – or ‘sticky’ – atoms, whilst atoms that need to be moved should be held in place by weak chemical bonds.

“This result provides fundamental information about atomic scale fabrication and could pave the way for new data storage and memory devices,” said Andreas Heinrich, lead scientist in the scanning tunneling microscopy lab at the IBM Almaden Research Center. “Our mission is to create the foundation for what could someday be called the IBM nanoconstruction company.”

In a paper published in Science, the scientists show the force required to move a cobalt atom over a smooth platinum surface is 210pN, whilst moving a cobalt atom over a copper surface takes only 17pN.

Nanotechnology, says IBM, will require radically new designs and manufacturing methods. It says the ability to measure the force it takes to move an atom provides a new window into the workings of atom by atom construction and operation for future nanodevices.

Source: www.newelectronics.co.uk Author: Graham Pitcher
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