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January 16th, 2007
Falling dominos and future computers
What will the computer of the future look like? Some scientists are looking beyond today's ubiquitous silicon chip to the possibilities within the universe's tiniest places. The engineering of structures at the atomic and molecular level — known as nanotechnology — is taking big steps with small molecules, and even using parts of atoms, such as electrons, as the basic cogs for a computing machine.
A pioneer in nanotechnology is Don Eigler, a research fellow at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California. In 1989, he astonished the world by cooling individual atoms of Xenon and moving them with a scanning tunneling microscope of his own design to spell out the letters, "I-B-M." Eigler spoke with Earth & Sky's Jorge Salazar about the mysterious and beautiful world of nanotechnology.
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