IBM discovers the future of computing?

According to CNET News, IBM has had a little break through; scientists working for the enterprise computing giant have imaged the chemical structure of an individual molecule, increasing the possibility for creating electronic building blocks on the atomic and molecular scale.

This research report has been published in the August 28th issue of Science magazine. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, the scientists have imaged the chemical structure of an atom for the first time, with what is being said to be "unprecedented resolution."

By using an atomically sharp metal tip terminated with a carbon monoxide molecule, IBM scientists were able to obtain an image of the inner structure of the molecule

"Resolving individual atoms within a molecule has been a long-standing goal of surface microscopy, according to the computer company, which has a research and development program dating back to 1945."

According to IBM, though work has been done in the past on the atomic structure of nanostructures by AFM, the imaging of the chemical structure of an entire molecule has never been done with atomic resolution, until now.

The Scientists were able "to look through the electron cloud and see the atomic backbone of an individual molecule for the first time." According to CNET News, this is roughly analogous to X-rays that pass through soft tissue to enable clear images of bones. According to Gerhard Meyer, scientist, IBM Research, Zurich: "It is accepted that in the future this work can contribute to assemble prototypical structures of molecular systems and the idea is these circuits could have much lower power consumption and reduce fabrication costs, this is an important step, but one of many that will need to be achieved to build computing elements at the atomic scale. Techniques like self assembly might be used for manufacturing."

According to CNET, "understanding the charge distribution may lead to building computing elements at the atomic scale" This research is said to be the Holy Grail of semiconductor research and development. As circuit geometries get infinitesimally smaller, it becomes prohibitively challenging to make circuits with geometries below 10 nanometers, or even 20 nanometers.

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a teddy bear that claims to be mimzy has appeared in my room right now! He says he's from the future and has an Intel Inside sticker in his chest. however, he looks bizarrely familiar...


the scientists have imaged the chemical structure of an atom for the first time

the chemical structure of an atom? but i thought chemicals are made up of atoms?

This sounds very interesting. I'm no molecular physicist, but I thought penetrating an atom was what caused the explosion in an atomic bomb... I guess they were careful? Or maybe I'm wrong? LOL

Penetrating - no. More like exploding the atom. You can push electrons aside with relative ease (use a magnet or electric field lol)

But seriously. This article means nothing. All they have done is take a picture of what we know is allready there (through quantum mechanics). I hardly see how this is tech news anyways. More like particle physics news.

an atom bomb works by smashing atoms up
this works by moving a needle with a tip of a single atom around a molecule and feeling for any physical effects... sounds wierd but thats how things work

Conjor said,
... All they have done is take a picture of what we know is already there (through quantum mechanics).

Exactly. Up to now we only "knew" it was there; it was the picture our "theoretical visualizing tools" would help us create in our imagination.
And now they have a technology to make an "image" of what we all knew was there. But those guys are on their way "to build computing elements at the atomic scale". I bet it will take them "a few" more steps, each one of them "meaning nothing" to a side observer.

I always think of mobile phones as we have them today -- they were mere fantasy some 30-40 years ago. They were not possible even theoretically, due to missing technologies, which even then didn't seem achievable in the (then) observable future.
But then a series of small "insignificant" steps followed, each one of them would "mean nothing" really -- when you don't know what you wanna do with it... And in the end of it we have this "fantastic" device, a mobile or PDA, whose technical capabilities exceed the technologies known 30 years ago.

(And those kids don't even think about these miracles, when they use this stuff to send their silly SMS messages to one another, instead of spending their time to learn more about the world they're living in...)

the enterprise computing giant have imaged the chemical structure of an individual molecule, increasing the possibility for creating electronic building blocks on the atomic and molecular scale.

Shoudn't it be "have imaged the chemical structure of an individual atom"?

Robot-Scott said,
Shoudn't it be "have imaged the chemical structure of an individual atom"?

You haven't seen the picture, obviously. It's the structure of a molecule.

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