Thursday, May 2, 2013

How the atomic movie was made



Yesterday we brought you the cool movie of individual atoms made by the folks at IBM .  After looking into it a little bit more, we found this video on how the movie was made.  It is pretty interesting to see people moving atoms around individually.
One of the interesting implications of this work is that we will soon see the end of Moore's Law.    Once our memory devices are moving individual atoms around, we are going to have to go to some completely new, non-atomic method of storage in order to see any increased density in our computers.

As I watch this I have some completely naive quetsions:
I get that we know how to move an atom through this magic, super small/sharp tip that we can use to interact with the atoms, but how do we build a machine that physically move with the resolution required to place an atom exactly.  To move an atom and atom's diameter over, we would need a robot arm with a one atom resolution stepper motor, wouldn't we?   Yikes.  I know its all done with smoke and mirrors magnets, but it is really impressive, and the more I think about it, the more impressed I am.