IBM (atoms)

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"IBM" spelled out using 35 xenon atoms

IBM in atoms was the result of the manipulation of individual atoms to spell out the initials of the technology company IBM. In November 1989 researchers at IBM demonstrated that scanning tunneling microscope technology could be used to manipulate individual atoms. As an example of the technique, they placed individual atoms on a substrate to spell out the company initials, "IBM". This was the first time atoms had been precisely positioned on a flat surface.[1] On Apr 30, 2013 IBM published an article on IBM website and a video on YouTube called "A Boy And His Atom: The World's Smallest Movie". [2]


Donald Eigler and Erhard Schweizer of the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California, used a scanning tunneling microscope, which can discern individual atoms, to position xenon atoms to form the initials "IBM". They shot a beam of xenon atoms at a chilled crystal of nickel. These were manipulated into patterns using the scanning tunneling microscope. In addition to the IBM initials, they created chains of xenon atoms similar in form to molecules.

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