This isn’t specifically related to alternative energy, but I found it pretty cool. It potentially could have big ramifications for the nanotech field and might also lead to future semiconductors that use way less power than current chips. IBM researchers, in a press release, have announced that they are the first to measure the force it takes to move individual atams on a surface. They say that this measurement provides important information for designing future atomic scale devices such as computer chips and miniturized storage devices.
For example, the researchers say that the force needed to move a cobalt atam over a smooth platinum surface is 210 piconewtons, while it takes only 17 piconewtons to move a cobalt atam over a copper surface. By comparison, the force needed to lift a copper penny that weighs 3 grams is nearly 30 billion piconewtons.
You can check out the press release by hitting the link above, or this cool youtube video.