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The events that take place inside of atoms occur at speeds that are normally much too fast to capture. Now researchers at IBM's Almaden Research Center have developed a technique that lets them watch this atomic action with unprecedented resolution.

The researchers used the technique to flip the orientation of an atom's spin, a fundamental quantum property, and then to measure how long the atom "remembered" this state before returning to its natural spin state. This is a first step toward developing a kind of computer memory that works on the atomic scale, and the technique could also be used by materials scientists to perform the basic research necessary in making more efficient organic solar materials.

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Category: Science