Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Scientists Create Atomic Switch

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Scientists Create Atomic Switch

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (AP) _ Scientists have created an experimental switch in which a single atom hops back and forth across a tiny gap. The experiment could help in building atomic-sized electronic devices, researchers say.

One version of the switch conducted about seven times as much current when the atom was in one position as when it was in the other, researchers said.

Such "atom switches" may one day be useful in making atomic-scale devices that store data or do computations in a computer, said study co-author Christopher Lutz.

But he said nobody has shown whether the atom switches would offer advantages over other technologies.

Serious obstacles also remain for producing a useful switch, he and co-authors Don Eigler and William Rudge wrote in today's issue of the journal Nature. All the co-authors are at IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif.

They made their switch from a scanning tunneling microscope, which is normally used to produce images of atoms on surfaces. …

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