IBM's nanotechnology research aims to devise new atomic- and molecular-scale structures and devices for enhancing information technologies, as well as discover and understand their scientific foundations.
Leading the development of nanotechnology, IBM's scientists have made numerous breakthroughs in the study of these nano-scale technologies.
In particular, carbon nanotubes and scanning probes derived from the atomic force microscope -- cousin of the scanning tunneling microscope -- show particular promise in enabling dramatically improved circuits and data storage devices. Research on nanoparticles leads to applications in biomedicine as well as hard disk drive storage. Photonic bandgap materials -- on-chip nanoscale structures the size of a wavelength of light -- will manipulate light as optical waveguides, splitters and routers. Research into nanomechanical information storage, such as IBM's Millipede project, continues to increase the possibilities for increased areal storage density.
IBM's research into nano-scale structures that self-assemble may one day obviate the need to "hand-position" atoms. Nanotechnology will allow the design and control of the structure of an object on all length scales, from the atomic to the macroscopic enabling more efficient and vastly less expensive manufacturing processes and providing the hardware foundation for future information technology.