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Discovery of a "Flat" Atom Hailed as Quantum Computing Breakthrough 205

msw writes to tell us that nanoelectronics researchers have discovered a new molecule that could act as a state-manipulable atom due to its unique shape and properties. "Imagine a tiny arsenic atom embedded in a tiny strip of silicon atoms. An electric current is applied. Something strange arises on the surface -- an exotic molecule. On one end is the spherical submerged arsenic atom; on the other end is an 'artificial' flat atom, seemingly 2D, created as an artifact. The pair form an exotic molecule, which has a shared electron, which can be manipulated to be at either end, or in an intermediate quantum state."

IBM Measures Force Required To Move Atoms 128

Tjeerd writes "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." I've attached a video if you are interested.

New Electron Microscope Shows Atoms in Color 110

Cornell's Duffield Hall has acquired a new electron microscope that is enabling scientists to see individual atoms in color for the very first time. While old electron microscopes can be compared to black and white cameras, this new scanning transmission electron microscope uses a new aberration-correction technology that is both more intense and allows for faster imaging speed. "The method also can show how atoms are bonded to one another in a crystal, because the bonding creates small shifts in the energy signatures. In earlier STEMs, many electrons from the beam, including those with changed energies, were scattered at wide angles by simple collisions with atoms. The new STEM includes magnetic lenses that collect emerging electrons over a wider angle. Previously, Silcox said, about 8 percent of the emerging electrons were collected, but the new detector collects about 80 percent, allowing more accurate readings of the small changes in energy levels that reveal bonding between atoms."

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They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.