Scientists take images of atomic spin for the first time

Apr 28, 2010

Computer processors today are so much faster than the processors of only a few years ago that it is amazing when you stop and think about it. In the future computers will need to use different technology to be able to continue to advance at the rate we see today.

Researchers around the globe are hard at work on technology that will one day be used in all manner of electronics like computers and other gadgets. One of the technologies that is being investigated is quantum computing that uses the spin on an atom to serve as the binary digits needed for computers to operate.

Physicists at Ohio University have captured images of atomic spin for the first time. The image was captured with a custom-built microscope using an iron-coated tip to manipulate cobalt atoms on a plate of manganese. The team repositioned the atoms on the surface and then changed their spin. The atoms appear as single protrusions on the image above.

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