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IBM Measures Force Required To Move Atoms

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the i-bet-i'm-strong-enough-to-do-that dept.

IBM 128

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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OMG I AM FROST (-1, Offtopic)

VIGILANTROLL (670126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588350)

It has been a long time, but now I am back for the FRST!

too much money for too little (-1, Troll)

kevgaxxana (1197617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588374)

so much effort but so little gain. until it comes to a profitable point, it isn't worth it.

Re:too much money for too little (5, Insightful)

Diomedes01 (173241) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:too much money for too little (4, Funny)

louks (1075763) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588588)

He obviously doesn't understand Part 3...

1. Move individual atoms to make company logo

2. Determine the force required to move those atoms

3. ???

4. Profit!

Re:too much money for too little (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588806)

Nothing would ever be "worth it" if it had to show an immediate profit.

You've never dealt with Wall Street, have you? Look into "arbitrage". Hell, look into all of their business practices.

Re:too much money for too little (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589746)

There's plenty of stuff that goes on on Wall Street that's not immediate profit making. Just look at Apple, they announce something that won't make any profit for a long time, and their stock goes up. Microsoft (or was it sony?) announces that their next gen console will start making a profit in 2010, and their stock goes up.

Very few products make a profit the day they come out. For the most part the first month or so (on average) is just spent remaking the production costs, and then everything past that is pure profit.

Re:too much money for too little (4, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588484)

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.

Re:too much money for too little (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22588612)

There are more important things in life than money and profits!

Unless you're a Ferengi.

Re:too much money for too little (1)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589302)

actually, the most important thing to Ferengi is cotton buds, to only reason they are so obsessed with profit is because they have to spend so much money on earbuds.

Re:too much money for too little (1, Flamebait)

hcmtnbiker (925661) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588658)

Does the Hubble bring profit?

The Hubble not making profit is like saying that people don't pay taxes. Where do you think your money goes? NASA needs projects like the Hubble to keep getting its government checks. You're sunrise is a bad analogy, since no one created, except maybe a higher power if you believe in one.

Secondly, I assume IBM has a bunch of ideas about how they could make money off of this. IBM is a company, and being a company it must turn a profit, otherwise it wont be a company for very long. They have at least one idea on how to make this a profitable adventure, just because they're not telling you it doesn't mean they don't have one.

Re:too much money for too little (2, Insightful)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:too much money for too little (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589098)

Way to miss the point.
If NASA stopped sending back pretty pictures of twinkling stars, they would have a much harder time generating interest and justifying their share of the taxes they receive.

Re:too much money for too little (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589006)

Saying "The Hubble not making profit is like saying that people don't pay taxes" is like saying "eggs are like rabbits."

Eggs and rabbits are alive unless they're dead, that's where the similarity ends. Taxes are money and so are profits, that's where the similarity ends.

The sunrise isn't an analogy. I did indeed profit from it, and it doesn't matter whether or not the sunrise was created. It was there, it had value, it was priceless and costless. If it wasn't costless, if I had to pay money to construct it, I would have. IBM moving atoms isn't costless, but it is priceless.

How valuable is the air you breathe? How much do you pay for it? I pity you and your pathetically narrow world view.

Money is only a tool. You shouldn't worship your tools. Not because of any religious injunction but because worshiping your tools is retarded.

Re:too much money for too little (1)

i_ate_god (899684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590666)

Eggs and rabbits are alive unless they're dead, that's where the similarity ends.

Saying eggs are alive is like saying your tupperware container is alive just because you put a mouse and some nuts in it.

Re:too much money for too little (1)

KevinIsOwn (618900) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589502)

Your argument is flawed on the basis that you are reversing cause and effect. You are saying NASA keeps doing scientific research on space primarily to receive money from the government. That's completely reversed. NASA receives money from the government in order to do scientific research. Those pretty pictures are just the byproduct of that.

Re:too much money for too little (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22588728)

A sunrise tax ... taxing people for watching the sun rise ... Brilliant !!!

(/Hopes no one in congress notices this joke.)

Re:too much money for too little (1)

marzipanic (1147531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589032)

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.
And there was a breath taking clear night sky full of stars which the beauty of goes beyond words and profit. Sadly profit seems to be a primary "goal" for some but not for others.

Fingers crossed that the scientific "open source equivalent" geniuses who care about advance of science than money can work a way around it without the need for greed.

We may get charged for breathing oxygen soon, which we all kind of need so it would stand top reason great scientific breakthroughs would be in it for the money, we presume though, we never know the full facts 100%.

Regardless this is a great breakthrough and a step towards smaller and more effective technology.

Re:too much money for too little (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589470)

It's a shame that the technology to do science costs so much, but since it does it's a good thing that some rich people see their money for the tool it is and act accordingly, instead of worshiping it.

Kudos to Branson, Carmak, IBM's leaders, etc.

Oblig... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589384)

1. Measure force required to move 1 atom
2. ??? <-- (this probably involves patenting the process)
3. Profit!

Re:too much money for too little (1)

heelrod (124784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589578)

Yes, Telescopes make money.

they take pictures.

Go back to your computer and think up something that you dont want to make profit from.......

And then I'll steal it, make millions, and steal your girlfriend

Re:too much money for too little (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590396)

I never said they didn't nake money you fucking moron, I said that wasn't their primary purpose. Now get the fuck off my lawn and back to the fifth grade you stupid boy.

Re:too much money for too little (1)

heelrod (124784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590778)

Wow! I didn't think you would stoop to words like "Fuck" and "Lawn".

I find that people scream the loudest when they are shown they are wrong.

Pow!

still gonna steal your girlfriend. even if she is fat

Re:too much money for too little (1)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590336)

There was a beautiful sunrise this morning. Although nobody made any money off of it, I greatly profited by the experience.

In fairness, there is that HD channel that just shows sunrise in various locations every morning. Talk about starved for content...

-l

Re:too much money for too little (0, Offtopic)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590626)

Talk about starved for content...

Uncyclopedia [uncyclopedia.org] bills itself as "the content-free encyclopedia". Excerpt from today's front page...

Did you know...
  • ...that the eleventh secret herb and spice is LSD?
  • ...that John Cage has never made silence sound more golden?
  • ...that you can always pay your credit card bills using your credit card?
  • ...that air guitars are similar in shape to normal guitars, with the notable difference that they are made entirely out of air?
  • ...that Sperm are like hippies: they all stink, all of them are the same, but we can't just have enough of them?
  • ...that the Bavarian Illuminati used "That's what she said" as a secret code? No one knows exactly which she they were referring to, as they were a very sexist organization and had vowed collectively forsake the female species. Go figure.

Re:too much money for too little (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22590646)

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.

Which side of the argument are you on? Hubble doesn't bring profit but a sunrise does?

How about profiting as a secondary function? Afraid to answer? Somewhere down the line you should be attempting to recover the R&D costs, and if you make more money than what you spent, what do you call it? So the answer is YES.

Who the fuck modded you 5;insightful?

Re:too much money for too little (2, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588488)

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?

Re:too much money for too little (1)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588490)

it'll never be profitable if you think it isn't worth it to try to make it profitable.

Re:too much money for too little (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589438)

Now, if only we could apply that to everything.

Re:too much money for too little (4, Funny)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588518)

In other news IBM has talked about a new "highly accurate" price system for shipping of their servers.

Re:too much money for too little (1)

bishiraver (707931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590920)

At least it's not incredibly precise at the cost of being accurate!! ..Or is it?

Re:too much money for too little (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588524)

What isn't worth what? It's a research project. It's not supposed to be profitable.

Re:too much money for too little (4, Insightful)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589528)

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.

Re:too much money for too little (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589642)

mod parent up. Insightful!

Re:too much money for too little (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22590512)

"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."

Dang you! You just out-moded my transporter invention! Not even invented yet, and I'm already out of business. Maybe I can sue you in some European Anti-Trust court...? ;)

Re:too much money for too little (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589986)

Yes they thought the same thing when heron invented the Steam engine 2000 years ago. Nice toy for a king but nobody could ever make a profit from it.

    Funny thing though if somebody had thought hmm what if I took this and scaled it up and connected it to a wagon or to a mill or......

    They just might have sparked off the industrial revolution 1700 years earlier than it was or invented the first car or train who knows?

    But hey none of that could ever be worth while right?

Re:too much money for too little (2, Insightful)

IL-CSIXTY4 (801087) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590454)

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.

I agree completely! (3, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590558)

Such a frivolous waste of money! I can't stand it when people do things that will never see a profit! That's what I tell my kids whenever they ask me to take them to the cinema or go to an amusement park or other silly wasteful things like that. They should be setting up lemonade stands on the roadside during their summer vacation.

Why just the other day I told my wife not to have sex with me because it's a complete waste of time and energy, which could be better spent packing coins into little rolls to change at the bank. Speaking of which, semen is quite valuable at sperm banks, so blowing it elsewhere is just shooting money out the window.

Wasteful people >:(

Did I get it? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22588390)

Did I get the phrosty post?

Negative (0, Offtopic)

VIGILANTROLL (670126) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588420)

Failure is yours. ())==D Yes, the Ascii penis is yours as well.

Re:Negative (-1, Troll)

mpathetiq (726625) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588656)

I think this is the ASCII penis you were looking for: 8===D

Re:Negative (0, Offtopic)

RicardoGCE (1173519) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588672)

Your ASCII testicles are grossly deformed. Painfully so.

Re:Negative (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22588910)

You are the dumbest troll ever. And you have no balls apparently.

That's not their first try at atomic engineering (4, Interesting)

Enleth (947766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588446)

They've been the first (only?) company to construct their logo with individual atoms [cornell.edu] - and that was in 1990. Looks like they don't give up researching the basics, despite turning more and more into a consulting/support company, not the big iron provider they've always been.

Re:That's not their first try at atomic engineerin (3, Insightful)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:That's not their first try at atomic engineerin (4, Funny)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588936)

They've been the first (only?) company to construct their logo with individual atoms -

To be perfectly fair to other companies, IBM has a very simple logo. It is also black and white. Now that we can finally see atoms in color [slashdot.org] , other companies can get in on that action.

If you could make circuits like that, it would be really interesting, although useless. For instance, I can imagine an Air where the CPU (at the atomic level) looked like the Apple logo tesselated again and again.

Bravo for the video... (1)

webword (82711) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588486)

As I was reading the article I was trying to visualize what
this looked like. I was pretty frustrated until I came back
to /. and realized there was not only an image -- but a
freakin' video.

So, bravo for including that video. It really added value. Thanks.

Re:Bravo for the video... (1)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588716)

You should know by now that you're not actually supposed to RTFA here. The videos are incentive to prohibit this reckless behavior.

Re:Bravo for the video... (1)

Cokeisbomb (1001675) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589166)

How long have they been able to embed videos in the article?

Should read (3, Interesting)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588536)

IBM measures force required to move a cobalt atom over a platinum (and copper) surface. I would gather that the force for different atoms is minutely different, as well as whatever friction or molecular interactions b/w the atom and surface material.

...the force required to move a cobalt atom over a smooth platinum surface is 210 piconewtons, while moving a cobalt atom over a copper surface takes only 17 piconewtons
An almost factor of 13 between the two surfaces. Maybe due to the valence electron difference between the two materials, but it is right that this is important for nano-technology, something about which I know less than physics and chemistry.

Re:Should read (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588594)

Well, it was teflon coated copper :P

Re:Should read (1)

Fx.Dr (915071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588632)

FTFA: To put this in perspective, the force required to lift a copper penny that weighs just three grams is nearly 30 billion piconewtons...

Heh, next time I go to the gym, I'm not measuring anything in lbs/kgs, I'm measuring everything in piconewtons. Who's the lazy bastard now, ladies? I just lifted a freakin' penny.

Re:Should read (1)

Gewalt (1200451) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588758)

Just curious, but how do you plan on measuring a mass in units of force?

Re:Should read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22588830)

It's easy enough - as stated in the article a 3 gram penny requires 30 billion piconewtons of force to lift. Just apply it on a larger scale.

Re:Should read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22588870)

By multiplying by 4.45×10^12 piconewtons/pound (9.8 m/s^2)?

mass!=weight yadda, yadda; I'm assuming he'll be doing this on earth, so sue me

Re:Should read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22588982)

He's not measuring mass, he's measuring weight. If you know the nearby gravitational field it's easy to do a conversion between the two.

Re:Should read (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590572)

Everyone in the US already does it. Pounds are technically a unit of force, but we normalize away the gravitational pull of the earth in the equation so we can pretend pounds are equivalent to kilograms.

Re:Should read (1)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589546)

Way to go, Patrick Swayze.

Re:Should read (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589198)

If you stack two atoms (only one contacting the surface), how does the force required change? Three? More?
If you chain two atoms (both touching the surface), how does the force change? Three? More?

It would be really interesting to see if applying force in "the right spot" could make moving things around much easier.....think "Moving Men" (http://www.asseenontv.com/prod-pages/Movingmen.html/ [asseenontv.com] but at an atomic scale.

Layne

Could've saved them some time and money... (0, Redundant)

chemguru (104422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588574)

F = .5mv^2

Re:Could've saved them some time and money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22588694)

you fail!

F=ma

confused with KE=.5mv^2 maybe?

I hope this isnt Digg (4, Interesting)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588582)

Because when this story was there a week or two ago, 90% of the comments were stupid jokes.

This is a really interesting part of surface science, which in itself is more important than people give it credit for.
The force to move that atom meassured _directly_ is something new, that will also allow more educated guess on the dynamics of self-assembling layers.

To illustrate a point: All those nice pictures like shoing "IBM" in atoms are usually done on a nice surface (Pt-111), and cooled down to helium temperatures. At room temperatures, those atoms just around on a timescale faster than you can meassure a picture.
This is also (or even more) the case when creating thin layers on a substrate, where there are lots of different ways for layers to grow (some substrate material combination first grow "islands", others form a single layer, and islands later, others grow layer by layer). This is hard to detect in situ (a LEED picture only shows that much...). So anything we know about those forces helps understanding this behaviour.

And yeah, about practical applications: Everything from solar cells (organic ones have _very thin_ layers in their CIGGSE sandwitch) to lithography (dielectric mirrors for EUV-lithography is a hot topic)

Re:I hope this isnt Digg (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588734)

Because when this story was there a week or two ago, 90% of the comments were stupid jokes.

What's wrong with stupid jokes, so long as they're funny?

Q: How many IBM engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: (insert punch line here)

Re:I hope this isnt Digg (5, Funny)

Stanistani (808333) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588866)

Q: How many IBM engineers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: (this line intentionally left blank)

Subscribe to IBM Gold Class Hardware Maintenance for those oddly insoluble problems!

Re:I hope this isnt Digg (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589298)

A: 30 billion picoengineers.

Re:I hope this isnt Digg (3, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589474)

Q: How many IBM engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: Just one. The real question is how many patent attorneys got involved! =)

Re:I hope this isnt Digg (1)

AdamThor (995520) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590758)

Q: How many IBM engineers does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: Just one. But it takes a team of PhDs to measure the forces involved.

A step forward (1)

meko360 (1247918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588606)

A step forward towards an universal constructor. Did I spend too many hours playing Deus Ex?

Re:A step forward (2, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588832)

A step forward to the Star Trek Matter Replicator.

When you have a machine that can construct anything out of atoms or even molecules (perhaps nanometer sized machines doing the constructing, in the scale of billions of the little things), then physical property will in fact be equal to intellectual property.

In short, the only thing that will have monetary value will be land. The "IP" wars being waged today are setting the stage for the future wars between the "have nots" and the "we have but don't want anyone else to"s.

The matter replicator will cause more upheaval than any invention earth has ever seen. Blood will be shed just to maintain the rich's illusion of superiority.

Re:A step forward (1)

residieu (577863) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589046)

You still need raw materials and energy. Some atoms are pretty cheap (oxygen, carbon, hydrogen), but if they thing you're replicating requires gold or other rarer elements that's going to make certain things cost a lot more than the IP of their design. And I don't even know how to estimate the energy involved, but I assume it will be non-trivial.

Re:A step forward (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589568)

Since you;re working with atoms and molecules raw materials are free; even gold and platimum, which are surely in and on the dust floating around in this room, and there are gold and platinum in the computer I'm typing on. You'll have little "seeker" nanobots flying around inspecting dust and searching for the needed raw materials. As to energy, if you can make anything without cost, you can construct solar panels and windmills and batteries other such energy producers for free as well.

Re:A step forward (2, Funny)

I(rispee_I(reme (310391) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589774)

Why, then we'll build an atom constructor to assemble subatomic particles into the necessary elements.

"Will work for electrons."

On a surface? (1)

drewmoney (1133487) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588666)

measure the force it takes to move individual atoms on a surface

Wouldn't that surface be made of, ummmm, atoms?

Re:On a surface? (1)

dominious (1077089) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588782)

May I be the first to say WTFV! ( i suppose /. does not need explanation on what WTFV means)

Re:On a surface? (2, Informative)

boarder8925 (714555) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589392)

Wouldn't that surface be made of, ummmm, atoms?
I doubt yo have or will RTFA or WTFV, so I'll answer: The surface in the experiment was crystalline [ibm.com] .

people patents projects (4, Insightful)

Pulse_Instance (698417) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:people patents projects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589160)

The intro to the video has "people patents projects" it is almost scary to see that patents is that entrenched in their business plans...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.

What's really "almost scary" is that you nitwits can't seem to connect the dots between those two points. Oh, well. I'm sure the Pirate Bay and RMS will have their own patent-free implementation soon.

Re:people patents projects (1)

Pulse_Instance (698417) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589310)

I started off with the thinking that patents as a business model are a bad thing. Then realized that there are cases where patents, when used as they were intended, are a good thing which is why I changed stance in the middle of the post. I should have finished the sentence

Although at the same time IBM has done a lot to increase the research and knowledge in the whole nano-tech field.
with, so it isn't that bad, they deserve to profit off of all the money they are spending.

It would have made my change in position much more clear.

Re:people patents projects (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589328)

and IBM can do it BECAUSE of patents.
Patents are not 'evil' Yes some are abusive, and yes process patents and software patents have borked the system, but for stuff like this I am glad we have a patent system.

If IBM tried to keep this a trade secrets. they might have gotten 5 years of production, if they where extremely good at keeping secrets.
OTOH, if everything was trade secrets I suspect industrial espionage would be a much larger problem.

Transporter someday? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22588686)

You know what would drive this idea to profit? Being able to transport boxes "Star Trek style" from one location to another over terabyte transmission lines. Cheaper than diesel, line haul trucks, tolls, and drivers by far! First we have to move the atoms... that will allow us to rearrange the pattern and transmit it via PGTP (pretty good transporter protocol) to destination site.

Re:Transporter someday? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588874)

You're missing an importanat step in your transporter - converting mass to energy and back. We've been able to convert mass to energy since prehistoric times (a campfire converts mass to energy) but AFAIK we've never converted energy to mass.

If we could you could conceivably unfry an egg, which would violate all three laws of thermodynamics.

I think we'll probably break the lightspeed barrier first. That will likely happen right after Satan wins his first snowball fight, if Einstein was right.

Re:Transporter someday? (1)

Tangent128 (1112197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589100)

but AFAIK we've never converted energy to mass.
Sure we have. We can make electron/positron pairs from high-energy photons [wikipedia.org] . It's the principle behind PET scans. (Not sure how we got the antiprotons for the antihydrogen we've made.)

Haven't done anything large-scale, though.

Re:Transporter someday? (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589144)

Actually, what if we could move you atom by atom....physically. No "synced up particle" teleporting, no conversion from mass to energy and back, but honest to goodness movement. At that scale and along the right surface, could we theoretically approach "near instantaneous" speeds (for "small distances" like from Los Angels to Tokyo)?

Layne

Re:Transporter someday? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589616)

We've been able to convert mass to energy since prehistoric times (a campfire converts mass to energy) but AFAIK we've never converted energy to mass.

If you consider a campfire as converting mass to energy (which technically it does), then charging a battery converts energy to mass. Maybe cracking water into oxygen and hydrogen is a better example, since it matches your fire better.

Re:Transporter someday? (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590072)

Maybe i'm wrong, but i'm positive a campfire DOES NOT convert mass to energy - you're just releasing chemical energy from the atomic bonds as heat. You're left with as much mass as when you started, only in a different form. If you could convert mass to energy in a campfire you'd see a lot of small mushroom clouds in the countryside :)

Re:Transporter someday? (1)

smaddox (928261) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590402)

Actually, the odds are decent that somewhere in that fire, one atom fused with another.

Of course that one atom is one out of around 10^24 atoms per cc.

Re:Transporter someday? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590496)

Hold on a minute... you get energy from fission. You get energy from fusion. Damn, I'm confused. As Pogo said, "nuclear physics ain't so new, and it ain't so clear!"

However, PLANTS convert energy to matter. I forgot about plants. But we didn't invent those, not yet anway.

So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22588698)

Whats the big deal? Really small needles, people!

he who can move atoms can move the universe! (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588876)

famous saying

Re:he who can move atoms can move the universe! (2, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589322)

He'd also need a place to stand.

Anyway, he'd never know whether he was moving the universe, or just himself.

Easy problem (5, Funny)

johnw (3725) | more than 6 years ago | (#22588946)

Surely all you need to do is measure the force required to move mountains and then divide by the number of atoms in a mountain?

Re:Easy problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589350)

I can lift a person, plus or minus 500 people.

Re:Easy problem (1)

mseidl (828824) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590198)

Good thing I take steroids or I'd never be able to move an atom!

Re:Easy problem (1)

Xmastrspy (1170381) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590202)

There has to be a Chuck Norris joke here somewhere!!!

IBM called Chuck Norris to.....

Force? Surely not! (1)

LecheryJesus (1245812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589014)

Force to move atoms?

Surely not - everybody knows that they're all moved by His Noodly Appendage

Spaghetti not Science!!!

UAC (1)

Mortiss (812218) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589338)

Funny that this video has instantly reminded me of UAC promotional videos in Doom3.
I am still waiting for the Elementary Phase Deconstructor!

SlashTube (2, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589596)

Thank God we have embedded YouTube videos on Slashdot now. Now if only we could get people to post a bunch of asinine and off-topic comments below each video...

Heisenberg will be rolling in his grave... (1)

puppetman (131489) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590224)

From El Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] : "In quantum physics, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle is the statement that locating a particle in a small region of space makes the momentum of the particle uncertain; and conversely, that measuring the momentum of a particle precisely makes the position uncertain."

IBM is blowing smoke up our five-hole.

Re:Heisenberg will be rolling in his grave... (2, Informative)

smaddox (928261) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590498)

The diameter of an atom is on the order of 1 Angstrom (0.1 nm).

Planks constant is on the order of 10^-34 J*s.

Basically, the uncertainty is dominated by the size of the atom.

Intel Announcement (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590542)

If IBM has announced this now, expect Intel to announce within a week that "We're doing it too." After all, Intel cannot afford to be perceived as being behind anybody in advanced integrated circuit design.
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