Playing Pinball with Atoms

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We demonstrate the feasibility of controlling an atomic scale mechanical device by an external electrical signal. On a germanium substrate, a switching motion of pairs of atoms is induced by electrons that are directly injected into the atoms with a scanning tunneling microscope tip. By precisely controlling the tip current and distance we make two atom pairs behave like the flippers of an atomic-sized pinball machine. This atomic scale mechanical device exhibits six different configurations.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)1733-1736
Number of pages4
JournalNano letters
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • METIS-249961
  • IR-61339

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