One aspect that has proven a major challenge is the manufacture of tiny, atomic-scale wires. Moreover, the production steps in making the atomsized transistors are complex and demanding, meaning that Leuthold, Schimmel and their teams are experimenting with a wide range of materials and geometries. In the computers of tomorrow, millions of single atoms will be performing this dance to transmit signals.

  • “The human brain requires very little energy to achieve its enormous processing power.
  • The detection of this particle is difficult because it decays quickly.
  • The importance of this method is also evidenced by the recognition of ETH Zurich’s two latest Nobel laureates, Richard Ernst and Kurt Wüthrich, for their contributions to refining the method.
  • After applying the microwave field for some time, its spatial field distribution is therefore imprinted onto the hyperfine state distribution in the atomic cloud.
  • Jürg Leuthold wasn’t interested in taking over his father’s textile factory—a good thing for modern telecommunications.

We also perform density functional theory calculations to elucidate the physical origins of the contrast observed. The calculations reveal that the Pauli repulsion is the source of the atomic resolution and yield insights into the important role of the tip functionalization . Astronomical and physical calculations suggest that the visible universe is only a tiny amount (4%) of what the universe is actually made of. A very large fraction of the universe, in fact 26%, is made of an unknown type of matter called “dark matter”.

The ratio between voltage and energy consumption is exponential rather than proportional. This means that when voltage is reduced by a factor of ten, energy consumption decreases by a factor of one hundred. As such, the single-atom switch already uses ten thousand times less energy than today’s silicon semiconductor technology.

Atom And Molecule Manipulation

Such superpositions are hard to create, as they are destroyed if any kind of information about the place and time of the event leaks into the surrounding – and even if nobody actually records this information. But when superpositions do occur, they lead to observations that are very different from that of classical physics, questioning down to our very understanding of space and time. Scientists from EPFL, MIT, and CEA Saclay demonstrate a state of vibration that exists simultaneously at two different times. They evidence this quantum superposition by measuring the strongest class of quantum correlations between light beams that interact with the vibration. Jürg Leuthold wasn’t interested in taking over his father’s textile factory—a good thing for modern telecommunications. In his work as a physicist, Leuthold develops innovative technologies that haven’t just caught the attention of the global tech community—they’ve been further developed and are now standard elements in everyday devices.


Using minimal electrical voltage, a single atom is then slipped between the two pads, causing a digital signal to be emitted (cf. image). This principle is what gave rise to the name “atomic-scale technology”. Our experiments exploit the extreme versatility and sensitivity of our home built low-temperature scanning tunneling microscope/atomic force microscope (STM/AFM). We explore fundamental quantum physics with atoms, photons and phonons and harness it for applications in quantum technology. In our experiments we study many-particle entanglement in Bose-Einstein condensates, explore hybrid atom-optomechanical systems, and develop quantum memories and sensors with atomic vapour cells.

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Unlike stars and galaxies, dark matter does not emit any light or electromagnetic radiation of any kind, so that we can detect it only through its gravitational effects. In the first moments after the Big Bang, the universe was extremely hot and dense. As the universe cooled, conditions became just right to give rise to the building blocks of matter – the quarks and electrons of which we are all made. A few millionths of a second later, quarks aggregated to produce protons and neutrons. As the universe continued to expand and cool, things began to happen more slowly.

The results of the PiHe experiment so far are therefore an intermediate step on the way to an even more precise determination of the mass of the pion. This new experiment requires a lower density target to study the collision effects caused by other helium atoms, and other, more narrow atomic transitions will be also probed by the PiHe collaboration. It was in 1947 when the British physicist Cecil Powell and colleagues discovered a new particle – the pion – in the upper earth’s atmosphere. This particle is created when cosmic rays from the vastness of the universe hit the Earth’s atmosphere. Three years after the discovery of the pion, Powell received the Nobel Prize.

Particle physics probes the basic building blocks of matter and their interactions, which determine the structure and properties of the extreme diversity of matter in the universe. The web portal makes the fascinating research understandable to an interested public. To produce pionic helium, one of the two electrons of the helium atom is replaced by a pion. This artificially created atom can then be examined with a laser beam.

For our experimental parameters, the method provides a microwave magnetic field sensitivity of ~ 2 × 10-8 T and a spatial resolution of 8 µm, which both can be improved even further with trapped Bose-Einstein condensates . The goal is to have all key components of the atomic microchip ready by 2021. “It’s an ambitious schedule, but the three research groups are committed to succeeding,” Leuthold says. Nevertheless, quite a few factors in the research field depend on smaller and larger breakthroughs—and breakthroughs are notoriously difficult to predict.

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