Atomic relay

A relay race of hydrogen atoms has been followed by Thomas Frederiksen, who is currently working in the Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC), Spain and colleagues in Japan, using scanning tunneling microscopy. The relay race takes place in well-defined chains on a metal surface. By sending a pulse of electrons through a water molecule at one end of the chain, hydrogen atoms propagate one by one along the chain like dominoes in motion, the team explains. The result is the transfer of a hydrogen atom, like the baton in a relay, from one end of the chain to the end. This way of manipulating matter could open up new ways to exchange information between novel molecular devices in future electronics.