Scientists have added a crucial tool to the atomic-scale manufacturing toolkit with major implications for today's data driven—carbon intensive—world, according to new research from the University of Alberta in Canada.

"Computers today are contributing one gigatonne of carbon emissions to the atmosphere, and we can eliminate that by enhancing the most power-hungry parts of conventional computers with our atomic-scale circuitry," said Robert Wolkow, professor in the University of Alberta's Department of Physics a Principal Research Officer at the National Research Council of Canada's Nanotechnology Research Centre, and chief technical officer of Quantum Silicon Inc, a spinoff company taking the technology to market. "This new tool better enables an ultra-efficient kind of hybrid computer for the training of neural networks for artificial intelligence."

The latest finding speeds up the atomic-scale manufacturing process, taking advantage of a natural physical phenomenon. Hydrogen molecules seek out and automatically repair errors in atomic-scale circuitry and can be used to significantly improve the rewriting speeds of atomic data storage. This work builds on the decades-long dedication by Wolkow's research group to realizing the potential for atomic-scale manufacturing, something that has shifted from an idealistic dream to an ever more likely reality in the next few years.

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