IBM Research - Almaden, San Jose, CA
Under embargo until Thursday, January 12, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. ET
Private access to images, video, press release and related content.

Overview of announcement

The entire information technology industry is squeezing everything it can out of Moore’s Law, pursuing incremental improvements in scaling and performance. So far, that’s served us well – computers that used to occupy entire rooms now fit into our pockets.

But these incremental improvements won’t last forever. The ability to manipulate matter by its most basic components - atom by atom – and explore their properties from the “bottom up,” enabled IBM Research to build the world’s smallest magnetic memory bit and answered the question of how many atoms it really takes to reliably store one bit of magnetic information:12.

Using an unconventional form of magnetism called antiferromagnetism, scientists demonstrated a new, experimental atomic-scale magnet memory that is at least 100 times denser than today’s hard disk drives and solid state memory chips.

IBM’s continued emphasis on fundamental science and investment in R&D puts it in a unique position to move beyond incremental improvements and redefine the frontier of information technology.

2 years ago
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IBM Research - Almaden physicist Andreas Heinrich explains the industry-wide need to examine the future of storage at the atomic scale and how his team started with 1 atom and a scanning tunneling microscope and eventually succeeded in storing one bit of magnetic information reliably in 12 atoms.

2 years ago
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Download the full-size version of this photo and many others here. 
This image shows the layout on the Cu2N layer grown on Cu. In the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) image, each Fe atom appears as a green bump. We chose a relatively large spacing between the Fe atoms to be able to image them as individual bumps in the STM – closer spacing and hence stronger magnetic interactions can be achieved. 
Access full-sized photos rendered directly from the scanning tunneling microscope as well as digitally-enhanced images in this Flickr gallery here.

Download the full-size version of this photo and many others here

This image shows the layout on the Cu2N layer grown on Cu. In the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) image, each Fe atom appears as a green bump. We chose a relatively large spacing between the Fe atoms to be able to image them as individual bumps in the STM – closer spacing and hence stronger magnetic interactions can be achieved. 

Access full-sized photos rendered directly from the scanning tunneling microscope as well as digitally-enhanced images in this Flickr gallery here.

2 years ago
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Download full-sized version of this photo and many others here. 
This image shows the magnetic byte consisting of 8 bits. One of our recent advances is a much better control of the atomic manipulation processes on thin insulating films underlying this assembly. 
Access full-sized photos rendered directly from the scanning tunneling microscope as well as digitally-enhanced images in this Flickr gallery here.

Download full-sized version of this photo and many others here. 

This image shows the magnetic byte consisting of 8 bits. One of our recent advances is a much better control of the atomic manipulation processes on thin insulating films underlying this assembly. 

Access full-sized photos rendered directly from the scanning tunneling microscope as well as digitally-enhanced images in this Flickr gallery here.

2 years ago
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This interactive timeline highlights three decades of nanotechnology leadership at IBM. Two milestone IBM inventions—the Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) in 1981 and the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) in 1986—provided researchers around the world with the specialized tools they needed to explore the nano-cosm and manipulate materials at the atomic level for the first time.



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This interactive timeline highlights three decades of nanotechnology leadership at IBM. Two milestone IBM inventions—the Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) in 1981 and the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) in 1986—provided researchers around the world with the specialized tools they needed to explore the nano-cosm and manipulate materials at the atomic level for the first time.

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2 years ago
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Infographic: The future of information storage

IBM Research Atomic Scale Magnetic Memory

2 years ago
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Download full-sized version of this photo here.
This image shows the same magnetic byte imaged 5 times in different magnetic states. A white signal on the right edge corresponds to logic 0 (and is labeled as such) and a blue signal to logic 1. Between two successive images the magnetic states of the bits were switched to encode the binary representation of the ASCII characters “THINK”. We have written the binary representation of all upper and lower case ASCII characters. This is only possible because the spontaneous switching rate of the byte is very low at once per 2-3 hours per byte at T=0.5K which corresponds to a bit error rate of about once per day. The thermal stability is a strong function of the magnetic interaction between the Fe atoms and will be investigated further.
Access full-sized photos rendered directly from the scanning tunneling microscope as well as digitally-enhanced images in this Flickr gallery here.

Download full-sized version of this photo here.

This image shows the same magnetic byte imaged 5 times in different magnetic states. A white signal on the right edge corresponds to logic 0 (and is labeled as such) and a blue signal to logic 1. Between two successive images the magnetic states of the bits were switched to encode the binary representation of the ASCII characters “THINK”. We have written the binary representation of all upper and lower case ASCII characters. This is only possible because the spontaneous switching rate of the byte is very low at once per 2-3 hours per byte at T=0.5K which corresponds to a bit error rate of about once per day. The thermal stability is a strong function of the magnetic interaction between the Fe atoms and will be investigated further.

Access full-sized photos rendered directly from the scanning tunneling microscope as well as digitally-enhanced images in this Flickr gallery here.

2 years ago
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Atom size and scale

In this unique visualization developed by the Genetic Science Learning Center at The University of Utah, you can better understand the size of one carbon atom in relation to a coffee bean, grain of rice, and much smaller substances.

2 years ago
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Contact Information

Ari Entin
IBM Media Relations
(408) 927-2722
aentin@us.ibm.com

Christina Howell
IBM Communications
(408) 927-1407
chowell@us.ibm.com 


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2 years ago
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