The company’s research division on Wednesday released a stop-motion movie whose main character is a stick figure only a few atoms in size. “A Boy and His Atom” is the story, not surprisingly, of a character named Atom who befriends a single atom and proceeds to play with his new friend by dancing, playing catch and bouncing on a trampoline. It may not be an Oscar-winning script, but the performance does mark a breakthrough in scientists’ ability to capture, position and shape individual atoms with precision using temperature, pressure and vibrations.
This ability to manipulate individual atoms has big implications for the future of computing and communications. Engineers have managed to shrink certain components within today’s magnetic disk drives down to a few dozen nanometers. “We’re interested in exploring data movement and storage at the atomic scale,” the stuff of quantum computing, Heinrich says. Whereas a classic computer uses bits—a zero or a one—to store information, a quantum computer lets you—in principle at least—have a zero and a one at the same time in a quantum bit (or a qubit).” If you can do both of these at the same time, you can calculate answers faster than any computer using classic bits,” he says, adding that his lab’s mission is to determine whether atoms can someday be harnessed for computation and data storage.
YouTube video of the movie "A Boy and his Atom": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSCX78-8-q0&list=PLaFe0BJiho2pbiULC7W4UpxFGArH7oD7i&index=1
The making of the world's smallest movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSCX78-8-q0&list=PLaFe0BJiho2pbiULC7W4UpxFGArH7oD7i"
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