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The 1989 IBM Atomic Image

Don Eigler and the 1989 IBM Atomic Image

By Your Name Here

Abstract: In 1989 Don Eigler from IBM ushered in the nanotechnology revolution by moving individual Xenon atoms to create the image shown above.

The question “What is everything made out of” is one of the most fundamental questions of mankind, right up there with “Why are we here?”, and “Will that be on the test?”. Recorded ideas date back over 6000 years,1 first popularized in the west by the work of Democritus. Arguably the most compelling evidence for the atom being the fundamental particle of nature involves the human senses- smell, touch, sight, etc. Because of the small size of the atom, none of these are directly possible, so perhaps the next best thing is to observe it with the help of an instrument. This may have first occurred as early as 1981, 2 but the image that popularized it was taken by Dr. Don Eigler in 1989.3 Don Eigler is a ponytailed, well educated physicist and surfer. In 1989, he designed his own scanning tunneling microscope. An image of him with his instrument was taken during a 2006 interview.4 While studying the surfaces of solids, he came up with the idea of limiting the movement of atoms by performing his experiments at a few degrees Kelvin- close to absolute zero. In his own words from the 2006 interview, he found that “Through a combination of hard work, some horse sense and good, old fashioned blind luck, I happened to be positioned to discover that I could manipulate individual atoms with a scanning tunneling microscope.” Having discovered the ability to move individual atoms, Eigler decided to create a work of art to document his discovery. What he created is an image of the letters I B M using the noble gas Xenon, a dense and unreactive colorless gas. Was he forced at gunpoint to do the bidding of his IBM bosses?? According to Eigler: “I made that decision on my own. Management never said anything to me beforehand, and I did it with a very clear purpose in my mind. IBM gave me a job, gave me the opportunity when I needed one, gave me the opportunity to excel at doing the things that I love in life, and it was payback time. I pull no punches on that. It was my way of giving back to the corporation some of what the corporation gave to me.” Does Eigler get bored recounting the discovery, now that two decades have passed?

35 Xenon Atoms

Source: http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/22260.wss

“I don't mind talking to people when they're curious, for instance, about what I was thinking about or why did I do this or something like that. The thing is that I always get introduced to people as the guy who wrote I-B-M in atoms. After you have heard that enough times, you don't really need to hear it five more times.” Eiglers current interests are in the field of Spintronics, 5 a speculative field where future computers will be based not electricity (the translational movement of electrons) but on their spin…a sort of electricity where the electrons stay where they are.

Eiglers Lab Notebook

Eigler with his STM Source: http://www.tainano.com/chin/Eigler.htm

Don Eigler (2006)

Source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/06/13/don_eigler_valley/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/456735511/in/set-30000/

Sources: 1. Gangopadhyaya, Mrinalkanti (1981). Indian Atomism: History and Sources. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press. ISBN 0-391-02177. 2. G. Binnig, H. Rohrer “Scanning tunneling microscopy” IBM Journal of Research and Development 30,4 (1986) reprinted 44,½ Jan/Mar (2000). Available on the web at http://researchweb.watson.ibm.com/journal/rd/441/binnig.pdf 3. Imaging Xe with a low-temperature scanning tunneling microscope. DM Eigler, PS Weiss, EK Schweizer, ND Lang - Physical Review Letters, 1991 1189-1192. 4. A man and his microscope: IBM's quest to make atom-sized chips. The silver surfer speaks. Ashlee Vance, The Register, June 13, 2006. Available on the web at http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/06/13/don_eigler_valley/ 5 Spintronics: A Spin-Based Electronics Vision for the Future. S. A. Wolf et al., Science 2001, Vol. 294. no. 5546, pp. 1488 - 1495


The 1989 IBM Atomic Image

By Your Name Here

Abstract: In 1989 Don Eigler from IBM ushered in the nanotechnology revolution by moving individual Xenon atoms to create the image shown above.

35 Xenon Atoms

Source: http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/22260.wss

Eiglers Lab Notebook

Eigler with his STM Source: http://www.tainano.com/chin/Eigler.htm

Don Eigler (2006)

Source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/06/13/don_eigler_valley/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/456735511/in/set-30000/

Don Eigler and the 1989 IBM Atomic Image The question “What is everything made out of” is one of the most fundamental questions of mankind, right up there with “Why are we here?”, and “Will that be on the test?”. Recorded ideas date back over 6000 years,1 first popularized in the west by the work of Democritus. Arguably the most compelling evidence for the atom being the fundamental particle of nature involves the human senses- smell, touch, sight, etc. Because of the small size of the atom, none of these are directly possible, so perhaps the next best thing is to observe it with the help of an instrument. This may have first occurred as early as 1981, 2 but the image that popularized it was taken by Dr. Don Eigler in 1989.3 Don Eigler is a ponytailed, well educated physicist and surfer. In 1989, he designed his own scanning tunneling microscope. An image of him with his instrument was taken during a 2006 interview.4 While studying the surfaces of solids, he came up with the idea of limiting the movement of atoms by performing his experiments at a few degrees Kelvin- close to absolute zero. In his own words from the 2006 interview, he found that “Through a combination of hard work, some horse sense and good, old fashioned blind luck, I happened to be positioned to discover that I could manipulate individual atoms with a scanning tunneling microscope.” Having discovered the ability to move individual atoms, Eigler decided to create a work of art to document his discovery. What he created is an image of the letters I B M using the noble gas Xenon, a dense and unreactive colorless gas. Was he forced at gunpoint to do the bidding of his IBM bosses?? According to Eigler: “I made that decision on my own. Management never said anything to me beforehand, and I did it with a very clear purpose in my mind. IBM gave me a job, gave me the opportunity when I needed one, gave me the opportunity to excel at doing the things that I love in life, and it was payback time. I pull no punches on that. It was my way of giving back to the corporation some of what the corporation gave to me.” Does Eigler get bored recounting the discovery, now that two decades have passed? “I don't mind talking to people when they're curious, for instance, about what I was thinking about or why did I do this or something like that. The thing is that I always get introduced to people as the guy who wrote I-B-M in atoms. After you have heard that enough times, you don't really need to hear it five more times.” Eiglers current interests are in the field of Spintronics, 5 a speculative field where future computers will be based not electricity (the translational movement of electrons) but on their spin…a sort of electricity where the electrons stay where they are. Sources: 1. Gangopadhyaya, Mrinalkanti (1981). Indian Atomism: History and Sources. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press. ISBN 0-391-02177. 2. G. Binnig, H. Rohrer “Scanning tunneling microscopy” IBM Journal of Research and Development 30,4 (1986) reprinted 44,½ Jan/Mar (2000). Available on the web at http://researchweb.watson.ibm.com/journal/rd/441/binnig.pdf 3. Imaging Xe with a low-temperature scanning tunneling microscope. DM Eigler, PS Weiss, EK Schweizer, ND Lang - Physical Review Letters, 1991 1189-1192. 4. A man and his microscope: IBM's quest to make atom-sized chips. The silver surfer speaks. Ashlee Vance, The Register, June 13, 2006. Available on the web at http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/06/13/don_eigler_valley/ 5 Spintronics: A Spin-Based Electronics Vision for the Future. S. A. Wolf et al., Science 2001, Vol. 294. no. 5546, pp. 1488 - 1495


7


19 9

F-

9 protons 10 neutrons 10 electrons

41

2+

Ca

20

20 protons 21 neutrons 18 electrons

235

U

92

92 protons 143 neutrons 92 electrons



d. unit 4 2013-2014