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Nature: Single-atom bit forms smallest memory in the world
Date:11/18/2013

the experiment, a novel scanning tunneling microscope of KIT was applied. Thanks to its special cooling system for the temperature range close to absolute zero, it is nearly vibration-free and allows for long measurement times.

"To stabilize the magnetic moment for longer periods of time, we suppressed the impact of the surroundings on the atom," Arthur Ernst from the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics explains. He performed theoretical calculations for the experiment. Normally, the electrons of the substrate and of the atom interact quantum-mechanically and destabilize the spin of the atom within microseconds or even faster. When using holmium and platinum at low temperatures, disturbing interactions are excluded due to the symmetry properties of the quantum system. "In principle, holmium and platinum are invisible to each other as far as spin scattering is concerned," Ernst says. Now, the holmium spin might be adjusted and information might be written by means of external magnetic fields. This would be the prerequisite for the development of compact data memories or quantum computers.


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Contact: Monika Landgraf
presse@kit.edu
49-721-608-47414
Helmholtz Association
Source:Eurekalert  

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