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IBM Science

IBM Measures Force Required To Move Atoms 128

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-bet-i'm-strong-enough-to-do-that dept.
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.

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IBM Measures Force Required To Move Atoms

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  • by Diomedes01 (173241) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @11:31AM (#22588466)
    You are kidding, right? That is one of the most ignorant statements I have ever seen. Nothing would ever be "worth it" if it had to show an immediate profit.
  • by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @11:32AM (#22588484) Journal
    Dude, what are you doing at slashdot? This is a nerd site, not a greedhead site. This advances human knowlege, who gives a damn if it ever makes a profit?

    Does the Hubble bring profit? No. Do earth based telescopes bring anyone profit? No. Should they? Not as a primary function. There are more important things in life than money and profits!

    There was a beautiful sunrise this morning. Although nobody made any money off of it, I greatly profited by the experience. Mankind greatly profits by knowing how much force is required to move an atom, whether IBM makes any money from the exersize or not.

    Go back to the bank to worship your little green god and stop trolling us nerds.
  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @11:32AM (#22588488) Homepage
    Yeah, it's just like all that research into electrons they did some years ago. So f**king small they weight next to nothing, so how are they ever going to be useful?

  • by snl2587 (1177409) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @11:34AM (#22588520)

    Well, yes, they did move atoms with precision in 1989 (from TFA), but moving things and measuring the force required are two different things. If you know the exact forces you can automate the process much more effectively as no manual checking is needed.

  • by Pulse_Instance (698417) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @11:48AM (#22588678)
    The intro to the video has "people patents projects" it is almost scary to see that patents is that entrenched in their business plans. Although at the same time IBM has done a lot to increase the research and knowledge in the whole nano-tech field. When I was a tech in a lab the prof running the lab told me that most of the time when there was some barrier that no one could cross in the nano-tech field IBM would throw a ton of money at it and solve the problem. So it is nice to see they are still working on solving problems and advancing the field.
  • by PJ1216 (1063738) * on Thursday February 28, 2008 @11:53AM (#22588746)
    the hubble doesn't bring profit. its not like it's making more money then they are spending on it. we pay taxes, yes. yes, some it goes to nasa. however, nasa is putting that money into a project that isn't making extra money, therefore its not a profit.
  • by jmichaelg (148257) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @12:53PM (#22589528) Journal
    Some questions are expensive to answer. For example, how much is it worth to teleport materials at the speed of light?

    If you want to teleport something, you have to take the source material apart, atom by atom and rebuild it elsewhere, atom by atom. Can we do that? No, because we don't know how to tear something apart atom by atom, identify the atoms we've just torn off the source, transmit the x,y,z coordinates along with the atom type and put the same kind of atom at the translated x,y,z coordinates yet. We're on the way though.

    Initially, it'll be inanimate objects. UPS is currently capitalized at $75 Billion so there's a little bit of money to be made moving stuff around. Of course, why move stuff instead of just fab as needed? Once you've torn something apart, you know what you need to make as many copies as you want.

      If we ever get to the point where we can disassemble a person and rebuild people quickly enough then you're talking several orders of magnitude of value more. Take snapshots of yourself when you're especially healthy and use those as restore points for yourself. Add some patching software that merges your experiences which are stored as atom arrangements in your brain since your last snapshot and you have immortality. How much is that worth? Don't like your nose? There'll be body shops that use the photoshop equivalent to touch up your features. How much is that worth? Want a bigger cock? Not a problem. Whatever you can imagine, and then some could be possible.

    Will any of the above ever happen? Who knows? What we do know is it won't happen if we aren't willing to pay to answer the 'little' questions. Like how much force is needed to move an atom.

  • by IL-CSIXTY4 (801087) on Thursday February 28, 2008 @02:10PM (#22590454) Homepage
    With the sizes of traces on CPU dies these days, I imagine having a technology like this waiting in the wings will pay in a few years.

Prediction is very difficult, especially of the future. - Niels Bohr

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