Atomic Pen Writes World's Smallest Possible Letters

Illustration for article titled Atomic Pen Writes World's Smallest Possible Letters

Researches at Osaka University have been doing some really tiny writing later, using their newly-invented atomic pen, which can draw atom by atom. The resulting letters, the words "Si" for silicon or "Yes" in Spanish, measure only 2 x 2 nanometers, roughly 40,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. According to Masayuki Abe, one of the project scientists, they have reached a limit impossible to surpass:

It’s not possible to write any smaller than this.

They achieved the atomic pen using the tip of an atomic force microscope, which interacts with the surface of a semiconductor when it's near it by exchaging silicon atoms. According to the scientists, this is a new step towards the miniaturization of chips, which will eventually take us to impossibly-small computers. [Pink Tentacle]

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Didn't IBM do something like this years ago? Write their name out using atoms?